eNewsletter | May Edition
In this month's edition:

  • RCD operations in the age of COVID-19
  • Wildfire preparedness: protecting your home and property
  • Re-Oaking North Bay NEW publication
  • CDFA Soil Health Funding update
  • Fire fuels, prescribed burning and chipper resources and virtual workshops

What's New at Your RCD
RCD Operations in the age of COVID-19
Dear Friends,

As we begin week nine of Sonoma County's shelter in place, our thoughts remain with those who are sick or struggling with the many challenges of our current reality. At the same time, we feel heartened to be part of a community that has risen to this challenge and begun flattening the curve.

Like so many other organizations, the RCD's office remains closed, with our team working remotely. We are inspired that we continue hearing from landowners and partners who want to launch new conservation efforts or continue with those begun before this pandemic. What a great way to use this time, exploring new and reinvigorated ways that we can care for the land and water. Our team remains engaged and available, and we look forward to (virtually) connecting with you soon!

Be well,
Your RCD Team
Wildfire Preparedness: Tools for your home and property
As we prepare for fire season, spring is an ideal time to begin or continue defensible space and fuels reduction projects to protect your home and property. In California, wildfires aren’t a question of if, but only a question of when, words we have heard directly from CAL FIRE. As a community is our responsibility to prepare. Fire is a natural occurrence on our landscape and is essential to the ecological diversity of California. There are many resources available to you to help manage your home and property, here are just a few:

A few informative PDFs from UC Cooperative Extension

A few helpful video's on defensible space and fuels management

CAL FIRE – Defensible Space. CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox takes you on a Defensible Space Inspection, and helps Californians understand how they can help prepare your home in advance of a wildfire.

National Fire Protection Association. Dr. Jack Cohen, Fire Science Researcher with the USDA Forest Service, explains current research about how homes ignite during wildfires, and the actions that homeowners can take to help their home survive the impacts of flames and embers.

UC Extension Forestry. Protecting your family forest from catastrophic wildfire takes active management. “Your Family Forest - Protecting Your Land Against Wildfire”

Additional Information

Living With Fire Symposium 2018
The Living with Fire in California’s Coast Ranges Symposium was held from May 7-9, 2018 at Sonoma State University (SSU), in Rohnert Park, CA, as a partnership between the  California Fire Science Consortium Pepperwood SSU CAL FIRE , the  Sonoma County Forest Conservation Working Group  and local public and private agencies. Organized in response to the devastating October 2017 North Bay wildfires, the symposium brought together more than 400 participants, including members of the general public, scientific community, private sector, natural resource and fire safety agencies, and non-profit organizations. View all the presentations here: https://www.pepperwoodpreserve.org/livingwithfire/

Get in touch with an RPF
Jason Wells is a California Registered Professional Forester (RPF), whose focus at the RCD is to provide technical and planning assistance to landowners, help build a forestry program capable of addressing vegetation and fuels management concerns throughout the county, as well as address post-fire recovery efforts. We are here to assist forest landowners and managers in identifying and prioritizing management practices according to their individual needs, goals, and timelines. Contact Jason at

Re-Oaking North Bay: A strategy for restoring native oak ecosystems, focusing on Napa and Sonoma valleys
"Oaks are iconic trees in California, the defining feature of savannas and woodlands in many parts of the state. For millennia, these majestic trees have provided the ecological foundation upon which thousands of other organisms depend. Their cultural significance is equally profound: they are of central importance to diverse indigenous groups, and are prized for the many benefits they provide California residents."

Re-oaking North Bay has been developed by the San Francisco Estuary Institute, the Napa County Resource Conservation District, and the Sonoma Resource Conservation District. This project is funded by the North Bay Watershed Association. Copies of this publication are currently being printed. Stay tuned!
2020 Working Lands Calendar: May highlight
Community Engagement
CDFA Update: Funding for Soil Health Practices
Dear Stakeholders and Applicants of the Healthy Soils Program (HSP),
The 2020 HSP Incentives Program will award up to $22 million in grants to farmers and ranchers for projects that implement agricultural management practices to improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As of Thursday, May 7, 2020, CDFA has received 459 applications requesting a total of $30.39 million in funding. Of these, 273 applications requesting a total of $18.8 million have been preliminarily selected for awards based on completed technical reviews.
CDFA anticipates completing technical reviews for applications that have already been submitted and selecting projects for awards totaling $22 million by Friday, May 15, 2020. It is anticipated that the application submission deadline would be closed by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15, 2020. CDFA cannot close the submission period prior to selecting for award $22 million in grants to be consistent with language on page 3 of the Request for Grant Applications : “The application submission period will be on a rolling basis, starting February 27, 2020 and continuing until June 26, 2020 or until available funds are expended, whichever is earlier.” 
At this time, CDFA recommends potential applicants to reconsider submitting additional applications as they may not be funded in this year’s first-come, first-serve process. We thank you for your enthusiastic participation and interest in the 2020 HSP Incentives Program.
CDFA-Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation (OEFI) HSP Team
<Above letter released May 12, 2020>
Virtual Workshops | Resources
UCANR Prescribed Fire on Private Lands
UCANR is hosting a free in-depth, five-part webinar series on prescribed fire. Every Wednesday through the first week of June, you can participate in 90-minute sessions featuring various speakers and unique topics related to prescribed fire on private lands. 

Join in on any of the following webinar sessions to learn more! You'll gain practical knowledge, useful tips, and awesome resources to help you use this tool wisely. The cost is FREE, but registration is required!

Session 1: Fire Ecology (May 6th, 10:00-11:30am)
·    Basics on fire ecology and benefits of prescribed fire on the landscape
·    Using prescribed fire to control invasive plants and weeds
Session 2: Permitting (May 13th, 10:00-11:30am)
·    Permitting Issues, debris burning, and health impacts of prescribed fire
Session 3: Prescribed Fire Planning (May 20th, 10:00-11:30am)
·    Community planning and considerations for prescribed fire
·    How to develop a burn plan
Session 4: Resources for Burning (May 27th, 10:00-11:30am)
·    How to develop a Prescribed Burn Association (PBA)
·    Available cost share programs
Session 5: Benefits of Cultural Burn & PBA Discussion (June 3rd, 10:00-11:30am)
·    Processes and benefits of conducting cultural burns
·    Round table discussion about the development of a PBA in the southern Sierra
Farm Bureau's: Fire Fuel Workshop May 21
The Sonoma County Farm Bureau is presenting a low-cost online workshop focused on fire fuel and vegetation management. Learn from six experts in the field as they discuss prudent strategies for property management and minimizing risks and impacts associated with California wildfires. A moderated Q&A will take place at the conclusion of speaker presentations, so take note of any questions you have!

May 21 from 8:00 - 10:30 AM
The cost is $25 to register

Workshop Speakers:
Cyndi Foreman- Sonoma County Fire . Cyndi will discuss the history of wildfires in Sonoma County including historic fire paths and vegetation management strategies shown to be effective.

Fred Frey- Vintage Tree Care. Fred will discuss the importance of proactive tree care plans for property safety and fuel reduction while maintaining the health and well being of your trees.

Rachel Adams and Jared Goble- George Petersen Insurance Agency.   They will cover how to evaluate insurance coverage for your property or business to be best prepared in the event of a wildfire. Rachel will discuss lessons learned from the recent wildfires, and strategies to navigate through a risk-averse insurance marketplace. Jared will provide information about the importance of an Emergency Action Plan for Agricultural Operations and about how to develop and implement one.

Gordon Mann and Denice Britton- Registered Consulting Arborists California Tree and Landscape Consulting, Inc. (CalTLC) . These experts will discuss tree management tips for pre and post fire safety and viability. They will also cover how to determine which trees to retain or remove in a post fire scenario.
County's FREE Curbside Chipper Program
Spring is a great time to get your home ready for fire season. Utilize the County's free Chipper Program to chip up vegetative debris you remove from the yard to create defensible space around your home and main access routes. Be sure to follow the detailed instructions on how to build and where to place your debris pile so that the County crew can quickly and efficiently process your debris. The chips are yours to use around your garden and on pathways, just be careful not to place them within 5' of the home where they could pose a fire risk. New this year: You can submit your application online in the easy-to-use SoCo Report It system. Click the link, and select "Residential Curbside Chipping" in the scroll-down list. No paper applications are allowed at this time.
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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