Richard 'Rich' Casale
Rich Casale currently serves as the District Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) serving Santa Cruz County on the Central Coast of California.
He has spent most of his 32 years with NRCS in the Monterey and San Francisco Bay area but has had many other work experiences, including a co-lateral assignment for 13 years as an Area Public Affairs Specialist.
Rich has been involved in more than a dozen NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection programs during his career assisting sponsors and property owners throughout California following storm, flood, fire and earthquake disasters.
The NRCS Earth Team Volunteer Program got started in Rich’s office back in 1982, when he signed up the first 3 volunteers in the nation. Rich has also been instrumental in forwarding erosion control and watershed management programs at the local, state and national level.
Rich is a Certified Professional Erosion and Sediment Control Specialist (CPESC #3) a program he co-founded back in 1982. He also has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Natural Resources Management from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California.
He is one of the original founders of the CPESC program which is sponsored by the International Erosion Control Association and the Soil and Water Conservation Society.
Rich lives in Aptos, California with his wife of 26 years and their 18-year old daughter who also attends Chico State University during the school year.
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Team
Nick is a Santa Cruz County native currently living in Corralitos. Background experience includes working for Oregon State University at the Agricultural Research Center in Pendleton, Oregon; 2 years working for the Resource Conservation District of Monterey County as a hydrologist; and 2 years with the NRCS as a hydrologist in San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo Counties.
Nick’s education includes a BS in Soil Science from California Polytechnic State University, SLO and a MS in Geosciences: Hydrology/hydrogeology from CSU, Chico.
Nick is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) #3718, and enjoys GIS, hydrologic modeling, construction inspection, biologic monitoring, black labs, computers, and racquetball.
Erin Kurtz currently serves as the Soil Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Santa Cruz County. Born and raised in rural upstate New York, Erin received her BA in Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College in Washington State. Prior to joining the team on the Central Coast, Erin worked designing conservation plans with landowners in the Sierra foothills of Nevada County, CA. Erin now resides in Scotts Valley with her husband and their son, and enjoys gardening, hiking, camping, and sailing.
Jim Kjelgaard currently serves as the field engineer for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) serving Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties on the Central Coast of California. He is stationed in the Half Moon Bay Local Partnership Office.
Jim participates in field consultations, surveys, engineering designs, and report preparation.
Prior to joining the agency, Jim was a post-doctoral researcher in Washington Texas. He’s published several peer-reviewed articles in evaporation and transpiration, dust emissions from agricultural fields, and carbon and water fluxes on rangeland ecosystems. Jim has a MS and PhD from Washington State University and a BS from Penn State.
When Jim isn’t busy with NRCS projects, he’s preparing for his professional engineering exam and is a research partner with a rangeland project in Texas.