eNewsletter| May Edition
In this month's edition:

  • Salmonid Restoration Federation Conference takes on Santa Rosa
  • May Team Spotlight: Keith Abeles
  • Climate Change and Groundwater Workshop
  • Attention Sonoma Creek dairies and rangeland operators: conservation $$$ available!
  • June 19: Tillage Management Alternatives workshop in Kenwood
What's New at Your RCD
37th Annual Salmonid Restoration Federation Conference
The Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF) was formed in 1986 to help practitioners advance the art and science of habitat restoration. SRF promotes watershed restoration, stewardship, and recovery of California's native salmon, steelhead, and trout populations through education, collaboration, and advocacy. The 37th annual SRF Conference was held last month in Santa Rosa.

The RCD was well-represented at this year's four-day conference! On Tuesday of the conference, Executive Director Valerie Quinto spoke during a field tour session, " Living in a Fire Adapted Landscape: Burn Zone Recovery, Natural Regeneration and Active Restoration in Sonoma County Watersheds" a full day tour visiting watersheds and steam systems affected by the 2017 fires. The tour's emphasis was on targeting recovery actions, long term forest health and resiliency, and the protection and enhancement of stream systems in wildlands, agricultural areas and within the wildland-urban interface. On Friday, Sonoma RCD Engineer Jessica Pollitz led a discussion on "Planning and Implementing Streamflow Improvement Projects in the Russian River Watershed with the Coho Partnership" showcasing this unique nine-year-old partnership using science-based approaches to identify restorable flow-impaired stream reaches.

We were also thrilled to see our long-time partner Mary Ann King and her colleague Anna Halligan, both of Trout Unlimited, receive the 2019 Restorationist of the Year award! Big thanks to Mary Ann and the Trout Unlimited team for your continued partnership and dedication to recovering our regional salmonid populations with cutting edge science and on the ground projects.
Team spotlight
Meet Keith Abeles, Soil and Water Specialist.

Keith has been with the RCD for almost 5 years. As Soil and Water Specialist, he assists with a variety of activities to conserve water and soil on farmlands and around the county. This includes developing carbon farm plans, promoting soil health practices, assisting with LandSmart plans, organizing workshops, testing irrigation systems at vineyards, developing farm water plans, providing technical assistance on efficient use of water, and more.

The things Keith most enjoys about his job are meeting landowners and conducting site visits to all kinds of beautiful ranches around the county, working with great RCD staff, and helping to plan and implement projects that protect our soil, water and air resources.

After spending his junior year of college as a student in Nepal, living with subsistence farmers in the mountains, he came back determined to learn how to grow food. Keith focused his studies on agricultural ecology and environmental studies and started working on farms. And he have never left this path since then! He moved on to work at several farms and nurseries, and ultimately became the North Coast field rep for Community Alliance with Family Farmers for 7 years. In 2004, Keith started his 12 year run as the co-owner and manager of Quetzal Farm, an organic vegetable operation in Santa Rosa. "My work continues to focus on balancing environmental needs with the realities of producing quality food and farm products," says Keith.

Something that you might not know about Keith is that he thoroughly enjoys playing music, (guitar, bass and more), as well as hiking, canoeing and other outdoor adventures. Lastly, he is always ready to be challenged to a game of ping pong!

Community Engagement
Climate Change and Groundwater Workshop
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
4:00 p.m.
Sonoma State University
Student Center, Ballroom 3rd floor, 1801 E. Cotati Ave. Rohnert Park          
You're invited to a community to a workshop  “How a changing climate could affect our groundwater basins – and what we’re doing about it.”

The focus of this public workshop will be on how climate change could affect local groundwater resources and how these impacts must be addressed in Groundwater Sustainability Plans.

The panel discussion will feature Jay Jasperse, Sonoma Water Chief Engineer and Groundwater Program Manager and the USGS, California Water Science Center Ph.D. research hydrologists, Lorraine E. Flint and Alan L. Flint, who will share from their work on a Basin Characterization Model to provide hydrologic response to climate change.

Please note, while SSU Parking is $5, the event takes place after graduation – so parking spaces should be plentiful. Light refreshments will be served.
Attention Sonoma Creek watershed dairies and rangeland operators: conservation funding available!
Grant funds are currently available to help implement conservation practices that reduce potential pathogen loading into the Sonoma Creek Watershed.

Potentially fundable USDA NRCS conservation practices:
Heavy Use Area Protection                     Roof and Covers
Composting Facility                                   Roof Runoff Structure
Waste Transfer                                           Waste Separation Facility
Animal Crossings                                        Waste Storage Facility
Riparian Fencing                                         Water Development

Who is eligible?
Dairies, equine facilities, and rangeland with dairy or beef cows within the Sonoma Creek watershed.

What projects qualify?
Projects that implement conservation practices to reduce potential pathogen loading into the Sonoma Creek watershed. Projects could be made up one or more of the practices listed above.

How do I apply for funding?
Call or email Erica Mikesh, Partner Engineer at (707) 569-1448 or email emikesh@sonomarcd.org. She’ll set up a site visit in June 2019 to review your project idea and then help you fill out a funding request application.
How do I get selected for funding?
Project applications will be prioritized, and the highest priority projects will received funding. A technical advisory committee reviews all applications and then ranks them using a gra nt-specific selection criteria. The committee will make appointments with landowners to visit proposed projects late July - early August. Deadline to submit is June 27, 2019. Application requires a site visit with Sonoma RCD staff to discuss and develop your project, so please plan ahead!
Events & Workshops
Tillage Management Alternatives: impacts on soil moisture/health
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
11:00 am – 12:30 pm
MacLeod Family Vineyard in Kenwood
Please sign up in advance as space is limited to 40 people.

The RCD has been working with the MacLeod Family Vineyard to look at the impact of different types of tillage management on soil health and relative moisture availability. Field trials were established in fall 2017 to investigate differences in no till, alternate row till and full till management on soil health properties and soil moisture. We will meet to discuss the project, tillage alternatives, and opportunities to maximize retention and conservation of water in the soil and at the ranch. Josh Beniston, soil scientist and program coordinator for the sustainable agriculture program at the Santa Rosa Junior College, will present on findings to date. Grower John MacLeod will discuss his perspective and interest in the project, and growers will be invited to discuss their experiences and perspectives on how to best manage the soil and water, and ask questions.

  • Keith Abeles, Soil and Water Specialist, Sonoma RCD
  • Josh Beniston, PhD, Soil Scientist and Program Coordinator for Sustainable Agriculture, Santa Rosa Junior College
  • John MacLeod, Grower, MacLeod Family Vineyard

This workshop is made possible by 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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