eNewsletter| March Edition
Schoolyard habitat + salmon
in the Dry Creek watershed
“West Side School has a long tradition of environmental education and land stewardship. The Project, completed in June, will be a significant addition to the science curriculum and provide teachers with an amazing opportunity to expand students’ direct experience with sustainable practices in water conservation.”

Rhonda Bellmer, Past Principal
West Side School

West Side School Rainwater Catchment Project is officially complete! The RCD team is pleased to announce that the final touches to this exciting project have been made. Last month, we installed a interpretive sign in front of the rainwater catchment system to share information about the project and the overall partnership effort to provide water security and protect salmonid habitat in the Mill Creek watershed.

The West Side School Rainwater Catchment system will allow 30,000 gallons of fresh water to remain in the Mill Creek watershed during the most critical time of the year for juvenile coho salmon. The system harvests rainwater from the classroom rooftop, stores it in the six tank system waiting for use in garden irrigation during the dry summer and fall months and is pumped out by energy captured through solar panels for irrigation use. This system can help improve streamflow by reducing the amount of groundwater that is extracted, allowing the watershed to retain more water when it needs it most.

West Side School sits along Felta Creek, a tributary to Mill Creek which ultimately feeds Dry Creek and the Russian River. The Mill Creek watershed is home to schools, rural residences, vineyards and wineries, gardens and orchards, grazing livestock, oak woodlands and conifer forests. This watershed is also home to endangered coho salmon, and has been the focus of many collaborative efforts aimed at restoring coho populations while maintaining the beautiful rural quality of life in Mill Creek. To learn more about the Mill Creek watershed, please visit our website .
Whats New at Your RCD
We're hiring!
The Staff Accountant position is a great opportunity for someone with a solid background in accounting who enjoys financial analysis and wants to work for a mission driven organization. Reporting to the Director of Finance, and working under limited supervision, the Staff Accountant is responsible for the accounts receivable and accounts payable functions and will provide assistance with payroll. This individual works closely with fiscal and program staff to ensure sound financial management of awards, compliance with funding source guidelines, and effective delivery of the RCD’s programs. To see the full job description or to keep an eye out for other opportunities please visit "Join our Team"
Thank you for attending the second annual Soil Symposium!
We had a full house at the second annual Vineyard Soil Health Symposium last Friday! This event was in partnership with the Sonoma Winegrape Commission with support from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. Thank you to everyone who came out to participate. A special thanks to our guest speakers & vineyard panelists! Presentations and information shared at the symposium will be posted within the next few weeks on the SoilHub and the Sonoma RCD event page .

New Video: Past, Present and Future of Conservation Districts
Sonoma RCD is part of a network of 3,000 Conservation Districts across the nation, delivering conservation across a diversity of landscapes, land uses, and resource concerns. Even with the diversity among our Districts, we all share a common history and commitment to our communities. The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) recently released " Past, Present and Future of Conservation Districts ," a video showcasing this unique history and examples of Conservation Districts' evolving work. Check it out on NACD's YouTube channel or on NACD's promotional videos webpage!
Team spotlight
Meet Valerie Quinto, Executive Director.

Valerie has been with the RCD for eleven years this month! It's her job to make sure the entire RCD is successful in living our mission and serving our community. Valerie does this by building partnerships, and by fostering an atmosphere of service and teamwork. Much of her time is also spent working with our administrative staff to keep the nuts and bolts of the District running.

Her favorite part about her job is the people she works with – staff, board, partners, and landowners. She finds that even when working with such a diverse group of individuals sometimes with varying experiences and opinions, there is still always a shared goal: to conserve natural resources and working lands in our spectacular County.

When asked if she had a personal story that drives her in this line of work she shared the following: "I have spent my entire life in Sonoma County, and I love this place like I love my family. It’s part of who I am. I decided in college that I wanted to study biology and work on water issues, but it wasn’t until I got some professional experience under my belt that I realized how complex the relationship between people, land, and water really is. Fresh out of college, I didn’t fully appreciate the way that land management can form the basis of communities, as both a livelihood and a way of life. When I realized how little I knew about land management, even after having grown up in a working apple orchard, I dove in to learning more. It has been a privilege, through my work at the RCD, to learn from seasoned land managers and to be in a position to help folks achieve conservation goals. I love serving both the people and the natural resources of Sonoma County."

Oh, and if you didn't know this about Valerie... she LOVES goats!

Community Engagement
The Grassfed Exchange: Regeneration Rising
April 3 - 5, 2019
Sonoma County Fairgrounds + local ag operations

The Grassfed Exchange Conference is a gathering of regenerative ranchers, dairymen, and sustainable food supporters from across the world who come together to network and exchange ideas. The desire is to help producers and consumers grow in the knowledge of the grassfed industry. Sonoma RCD is elated to see a number of local producers we have supported on the tour schedule, we're proud to see their innovative efforts being recognized on an international platform in our own county. Watch the promo video!
Get Involved
Vegetation Management and Fire Safe Councils
Saturday, March 23
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Altimira Middle School Multipurpose Room
17805 Arnold Drive, Sonoma
Hosted by Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin

Join Supervisor Gorin, representatives from County Fire, CalFire, the Sonoma Valley Fire and Vegetation Management Collaborative, California Fire Safe Councils, Sonoma Ecology Center, Good Fire Alliance, and local Fire Safe Councils to learn about topics like:

  • Climate Change, Fire Risk and Resiliency
  • Vegetation Management at the County Level: Rule 13A
  • CA Governor Investments in Fire Readiness and Funding from CalFire
  • Fuel Reduction: Controlled Burns, Thinning and Fuel Breaks
  • Fire Safe Councils and Community Wildfire Protection Plans
  • Q&A and Resource Fair

For more information contact Supervisor Gorin’s office at 565-2241 or First District Field Rep Arielle Kubu-Jones at [email protected]  

2019 LandSmart ® Vineyard Planning Workshops
April 4 and May 6
(Each workshop will have identical content)
8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Napa Valley College Community Room (Room 1731), Napa for morning session; Carneros vineyard for afternoon session
$50, includes lunch, payable via check or Donate button at NapaRCD.org
RSVP: Frances Knapczyk, [email protected] or call ( 707) 690-3124
Workshop Schedule:
Morning Session – In the classroom, bring your laptop!
  • LandSmart Vineyard Plan Template (please download before workshop)
  • Waste Discharge Requirements for Sediment in Napa River and Sonoma Creek
  • LandSmart/Napa Green Land certification
Afternoon Session –   Vineyard tour showing how to assess and document waterways and unpaved roads for water quality concerns

 Why Complete a LandSmart Vineyard Plan?
  • Comply with water quality regulations (WDRs) in Napa River & Sonoma Creek watersheds
  • Achieve Napa Green Land Certification
  • Document Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs)
  • Help prioritize and schedule BMPs and take advantage of cost share opportunities
  • No-cost certification (under current grant funding - subject to change in 2019)

Workshop Sponsors: Napa County RCD, USDA NRCS
Attend a technical workshop to receive the latest science-based information on how to best manage your soil, water and wildlife on
your property.
With a tax deducible donation you can support conservation projects that protects water resources, improves soil health + restores habitat for endangered species.
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