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eNewsletter | October 2021

In This Month's Edition

  • RCD Updates: The RCD is Hiring a Conservation Project Manager, 2021 Annual Newsletter Poll, Alliance Implementation Update, Tree Profile: Douglas Fir
  • People Spotlight: Farewell for Isis Howard, Introducing our new Grizzly Corps Staff
  • Resources: Acorns Lesson Plan for Educators, Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Producers Survey, The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes Atmospheric River Update
  • Workshops: Exploring the Autumn landscape, Monthly Garden Office Hours, Climate Change and Land Use Change Impacts on Pollinators, Community Oak Planting Day, Black Farmer Conference, Sugarloaf Woodlands Comes Home to Your Garden
  • Other News: COVID-19 Grants from USDA Update, Look For These Bay Area Species in Fall 2021, Visit the Upgraded Helen Putnam Park in Petaluma

What's New at Gold Ridge?

The RCD is Hiring a Conservation Project Manager!

Isis IH soil sampling at marimar vineyard Feb 2021

The Conservation Project Manager position offers an exciting opportunity to participate in meaningful and impactful conservation work in some of California’s most beautiful landscapes. They will work among a dynamic team of professionals, including licensed engineers, certified professionals in planning, registered professional foresters, biologists, geomorphologists, grant writers and lovely humans. The individual will work on projects relating to climate resiliency, soil health, watershed restoration, water conservation, agricultural best management practices, fisheries, wildlife, or other natural resource conservation projects the RCD may undertake as well as developing and maintaining strong strategic partnerships and funding programs for all watersheds in the District.

How to Apply: Please submit cover letter, resume, and three references to with the title “Conservation Project Manager” in the subject line. Applications must be received no later than 5:00 PM Pacific Standard Time on November 7, 2021. No phone calls please

More information can be found in the Job Announcement

Take Our 2021 Annual Newsletter Poll

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In efforts to help save resources, the RCD has decided to create a poll, allowing you all to decide whether or not you would like to receive a digital or paper copy of our 2021 Annual Newsletter.

You can access the poll here.

Alliance Redwoods Water Conservation Project Update by John Green


Work on Phase 1 of the Alliance Redwoods Water Conservation Project started in July. The project involves installing water conservation measures to reduce overall water demand and switching Alliance’s sources of both potable and non-potable water to reduce water extraction in the central Dutch Bill Creek watershed. Project implementation will result in an approximately 90% decrease in water extraction for Alliance’s operations.


As of mid-October, new pipelines to convey both potable and non-potable water have been installed, and our contractor, Piazza Construction, is working on the irrigation water conservation components of the project. These include upgrades to infrastructure, including a new, more efficient irrigation system that detects soil moisture in determining how much and how often to water; aerating and amending the soil of Alliance’s ball field, the major consumer of irrigation water; and replacing the existing grass with a drought-tolerant turf, which allows for less water use.

The Phase 1 work is expected to wrap up before the end of the year, and Phase 2 is scheduled for next summer. The project is funded through grants from the California Wildlife Conservation Board and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Find more information on our water conservation projects here.

Tree Profile: Douglas Fir by Mason Inumerable


Welcome to our newsletter’s first Tree Profile! Christmas is around the corner so we would like to shine a spotlight this month on the classic Christmas Tree, the coastal Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var menziesii)! 

The coastal Douglas Fir is found from Southern British Columbia and Alberta as far south as Yosemite in California.The Douglas Fir are not firs at all, but are actually large conifer trees. The tallest Douglas Fir being 330 feet tall and it resides in Little Rock, WA. They can be found in dry to moist conditions in mixed conifer forests, from 800 feet elevation in river valleys and canyon bottoms all the way up to 7500 feet elevation in the Southern Sierra. The limiting factors to its location range are the colder temperatures up north and the lack of moisture down south. Interestingly enough, it is found on south facing slopes in its northern range which are warmer, and on north facing slopes in its southern range where there is more moisture. The Douglas Fir is a fire-resilient tree because of its rapid growth, thick bark, and its height, making it difficult for fire to reach the crown. Fire is actually beneficial for the Douglas Fir as they can become well established in a forest after a fire comes and destroys the competition.


Douglas-fir can also be found in all forested areas of the county. According to Jason Wells, Registered Professional Forester for the RCD, due to aggressive fire suppression tactics in the county in the past 150 years or so, Douglas Fir have expanded their range from the coastal areas into the hotter, drier areas and in oak woodlands in the interior. Here is an example of the Douglas Fir encroaching on the oak woodlands of the county. According to students at Sonoma State University, Douglas Firs have encroached on the Fairfield Osborn Preserve. Since Douglas Firs grow taller than oaks, they can outcompete them. Douglas Fir seedlings can grow under the shade of an oak until it grows through the oak canopy, eventually blocking the oaks from the sun. Because of this, many people see this encroachment as a nuisance and a need for forest management. However, the Douglas Fir is not all bad for Sonoma County. It is important for many animal species. Deer enjoy foraging for Douglas Fir seedlings. It also provides an important nesting habitat for the Sonoma Tree Vole and the Northern Spotted Owl. The Douglas Fir was also used by indigenous peoples for building, basketry, and medicinal purposes. It has been used to cure stomach aches, headaches, rheumatism, and the common cold. The tips of its leaves can be brewed into tea. Plus, it is known as the Christmas Tree and a very important commercial tree. It is one of the world’s most important timber producers and yields more timber than any forest type in North America. It is also an important tree to have in a riparian corridor to shade the creeks and rivers.

The RCD is currently involved in the Ebabias Creek Riparian Restoration Project in Valley Ford (more info here). It is important to have well-functioning riparian areas as the soil along these areas act as a sponge. This sponge helps absorb and store water to reduce peak flows and the potential risk of flooding, while also slowly releasing this water later in the summer to extend the availability of surface water later in the year. Helping out on the project is Dr. Chelsea Carey, the Working Lands Research Director for Point Blue Conservation Science. The Ebabias project is one of the sites where Dr. Carey is testing a hypothesis that adding the fungi during plantings will help our plants to grow and survive better than they already do. She is using fungi collected from two different locations: a nearby location, and a hotter/drier location within the region. The thinking is that fungi collected from hotter/drier locations will help our plants do better as droughts increase and temperatures rise, and could even possibly reduce costs associated with maintenance (irrigation). She has added the fungi to the Douglas Firs and Coast Live Oak on site because these kinds of fungi are likely absent from many of the places where we do our riparian restorations. The site also has trees that have not received the fungi to serve as a control. The trees will be monitored and tracked over time. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. 

Find more information on the Douglas Fir tree here.

Douglas Fir Encroachment 
Ebabias Creek Riparian Restoration Project

People Spotlight

Farewell to Isis Howard

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It’s so hard to say goodbye to someone as hardworking and kind as Isis. We all cherished the time we got to spend with Isis during this past year and eight months. She emitted such a friendly, yet professional energy and was an amazing contribution to the Gold Ridge staff.

We are all so excited for and proud of Isis for getting a job at Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation as an Endangered Species Conservation Biologist.

Isis came into this position with experience in farm hand work, wildlife research, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management & Protection from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Isis did a great job as our Project Coordinator and was extremely passionate about Monarchs. In addition to her plethora of conservation projects, she also played a large role in the RCD’s outreach. She was in charge of the Instagram, wrote the monthly eNewletters, and mentored interns on outreach tasks for the RCD. Her leadership, well-developed organizational skills, and passion for conservation did not go unnoticed and we will value the contribution she made to this community Thank you, Isis. We are excited to see the work you will do in the world!

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Grizzly Corps Fellow: Jenna Kahn

I joined Gold Ridge RCD at the beginning of September as an AmeriCorps Fellow with the GrizzlyCorps program. I’ll be serving here and with Carbon Cycle Institute for the next 11 months. My primary project will be to upgrade the RCD Project Tracker

and expand its usage across more RCDs. I will also help create communications materials for CCI to help spread the word about Carbon Farming. I will also be assisting with various other programs around Gold Ridge RCD. 

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Although I grew up in Atlanta, I often traveled to the Bay Area to see my extended family. I spent many vacations at my grandma’s house in Marin and grew to love the landscape here. Last year, I graduated from Harvey Mudd College with a BS in Computational Biology. After spending a brief period of time in software engineering, I switched tracks and joined AmeriCorps. I joined Gold Ridge RCD because I wanted to learn more about how to confront the environmental challenges facing Californians and use my computational background to support programs that are making a difference in their communities. So far, I have been deeply impressed by the breadth of projects the RCD tackles and the passion and commitment of everyone who works here. I hope that my time here will be a steppingstone to further community-based environmental work.  

When not at the RCD, you can find me crocheting with my grandma; taking leisurely hikes; exploring my new surroundings; or reading (currently working on Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi).  

Grizzly Corps Fellow: Mason Inumerable


I joined the Gold Ridge RCD in September as a Grizzlycorps Program Fellow, which is part of Americorps. While in this fellowship, I will be serving with the RCD and with Fire Safe Sonoma until the end of July 2022. I will be helping with capacity building for these organizations for their various programs, such as the LandSmart Grazing Program and defensible space programs. I will also help increase our outreach to landowners, partners, community members, and stakeholders throughout the county. I will be often found representing both Fire Safe Sonoma and Gold Ridge RCD at various community meetings.

I am passionate about being part of the solution to climate change and its catastrophic effects, especially on the community level. I believe it is critical for communities to band together to protect its natural resources, conserve its landscapes, and to keep each other safe from disaster. I am excited to be part of Gold Ridge RCD because I believe it is a great opportunity to do important work and to learn from new experiences.

It will be a new experience to me because I have spent most of my life in Southern California. I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California. For college I attended the University of California, Riverside and graduated from there in 2018 with a BA in Political Science. I have only recently moved up from Riverside a couple of months ago after living there for 7 years. In my free time outdoors, I enjoy hiking, camping, and biking. My favorite place to do hiking and exploring besides local Riverside spots is Joshua Tree National Park. I enjoy the calm of the desert and the fantastic lighting of a desert sunset. I hope to find some great spots to hike, bike, and enjoy a sunset here soon!


American Rescue Plan Act Community Input Survey

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ARPA funds can be used in a number of ways, limited by federal priorities. They would like your input on which of the federally supported priorities they should focus on in Sonoma County.

Click Here to Take the Survey

Acorns Lesson Plan for Educators

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The Redbud Resource Group developed a lesson plan anchored in conscious land stewardship, that you can access for free!

This specific lesson plan allows students to learn about supporting a resilient ecosystem, the impacts of over-consumption, industrial development, and natural disasters on ecosystem resiliency. It also mentions how Indigenous foods support a healthy diet. You can find their other lesson plans here.

Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Producers Survey

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The following survey will lead you through questions regarding disaster planning and help you to consider your actions when disaster strikes. Upon completion, commercial livestock and poultry producers will be contacted to develop a property map outlining vital land, water and power supplies, feed, access points, and other critical areas of interest.

While this survey is designed for commercial livestock and poultry producers, we welcome all livestock and poultry owners to use this tool to develop a preparedness plan for themselves.

Click Here to Take the Survey

The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes Atmospheric River Update


The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes is forecasting >10 inches of precipitation over the higher elevations of the Pacific Northwest and Northern California due to these successive and potentially strong storms. Although this is not completely certain, there seems to be a lot of rain coming our way.

You can access the full AR outlook here.

Early Signs of Hope as Monarch Butterflies Return to California Overwintering Sites

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Xerces Society recently announced that western monarchs are showing up along the California coast in greater numbers than last year's historic low.

You can read the exciting news here.



Exploring the Autumn landscape through an Indigenous Perspective

Oct 24, 10am - In person

Register Here

Join Clint McKay, Pepperwood’s Indigenous Education Coordinator for a hike to explore Pepperwood’s landscape, which sits within the traditional homeland of the Wappo people.


Monthly Garden Office Hours: Converting Your Irrigation

Webinar Recording - Online

Watch Here

This Monthly Garden Office Hours presented Daily Acts partnering with the City of Petaluma to present about Converting Your Irrigation from Sprinklers to Drip.


Black Farmer Conference

Oct 22, 9am-1pm &

Oct 29, 9am-1pm - Online

Register Here

This two-day virtual statewide conference will cover: access to capital and business resources, youth in agriculture, resources from USDA agencies, an urban leadership roundtable, and more! Find more information here.

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Sugarloaf Woodlands Comes Home to Your Garden

Oct 30, 10am-12pm - In person

Register Here

Join Nurseryman and Park Docent Bruce Hope in an exploration at Sugarloaf. Our route will be cover at least a mile with a few hills. We will discuss plant ecosystems, uses in the garden, propagation and plant care adapting wild plants to your garden. 


Fire Recovery Trail Work

Nov 13, 9am-12pm - In person

Register Here

Sonoma County Regional Parks is hosting a volunteer opportunity where you can help make the park more fire resistant. Find more information here.


Community Oak Planting Day

Nov 26, 9am-11:30am - In Person

Register Here

Napa RCD invites volunteers to join them on Green Friday to plant some acorns in Alston Park. Make sure to be prepared to dig, bring water, and wear your masks! More information can be found here.

Other News

COVID-19 Grants from USDA Update


The USDA announced a Request for Applications (RFA) for the new Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant program and encourages eligible entities to apply now for funds. Applications must be submitted electronically through the grant portal by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, November 22, 2021.

Click Here to read more

The PRS Grant program will assist small businesses in certain commodity areas, including specialty crop producers, shellfish farming, finfish farming, aquaculture, and apiculture; specialty crop, meat, and other processors; distributors; and farmers markets.

Look For These Bay Area Species in Fall 2021


Bay Nature staff Jane Kim wrote a super fun article on how our favorite species are doing now that we could potentially be coming out of our last dry months.

This article has some beautiful illustrations, along with some interesting new species to look out for, along with updates on the statuses of our more common Bay Area species.

Click Here to Read it!

Visit the Upgraded Helen Putnam Park in Petaluma

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Daniel Roman from Bay Nature Magazine wrote an amazing article about the improvements made on Helen Putnam Regional Park, thanks to the $400,000 the park received. Read the article to find out exactly what improvements were made.

Read More Here

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