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In accordance with guidance from the CDC and the County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency, and in the spirit of doing our part to limit community spread of COVID-19, the RCD of Santa Cruz County is temporarily closing our physical office. This office closure will be in place until May 3rd, or until the County lifts the Shelter In Place Order. Staff remain committed to serving our community and will continue working remotely to the greatest extent possible. Please contact staff via email. For general inquiries, contact
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The project is located in Watsonville Slough near Beach Road, Watsonville, in Santa Cruz County. Located in the Watsonville Slough watershed, the Bryant-Habert/Wait Ecological Restoration Project is comprised of two (2) sites. Site 1 will improve the function of 8.5 acres of depressional wetland habitat created through excavation activities in 2016. These ponds/depressions will be modified to improve their hydrologic function by excavating about 270 CY(F) of material to create a ~500 LF swale and excavated connections between existing depressions.

Phase II will enhance approximately 10 acres of previously leveled agricultural land through the excavation of ~4500 CY(F) of material to create a depressional complex to restore natural floodplain topography and result in a variety of hydroperiods in the wetlands. These areas will be supported by the shallow water table, precipitation, and occasionally by flooding. While the site presently dries down by the end of March each year, after implementation several acres will retain water into the summer and some areas will hold water into the fall in a typical rainfall year. The result will be a substantial increase in the heterogeneity of habitats. Seasonal marsh, wet meadow project and native grassland habitats will be reintroduced to areas presently dominated by non-native plants. All material will be disposed of on-site.

biocharThe Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County is wrapping up a three-year project funded by a US EPA Clean Water Grant through an agreement with the State Water Resources Control Board. The goal of the project was to reduce pesticide loading and toxicity to surface and groundwater in the Pajaro River watershed by collaborating with growers and landowners and providing cost-share funding to implement a variety of voluntary management practices.

Grant partners, including Loma Prieta RCD, UC Davis Marine Pollution Studies Lab, UC Cooperative Extension, CDPR, NRCS, and other knowledgeable members of the Technical Advisory Committee selected priority areas for outreach to growers and landowners, and helped select project sites.

compost workshop 2020On February 28, 2020 the Resource Conservation District concluded a four year grant funded by a US EPA Clean Water Grant through an agreement with the State Water Resource Control Board. The monies were used to implement the Livestock and Land program, which was started in Santa Cruz County by local conservation districts and NGO’s as a way to work affect positive changes to water quality concerns from livestock facilities. This round of funding targeted small ranches in the Pajaro River Watershed where we work with landowners on a voluntary basis to help reduce the potential of sediments and fecal coliform from entering local waterways.

Trees sillouetteThe Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) of San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties have been awarded two grants totaling nearly $5.3 million for a collaborative regional effort to improve the health of local forests, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, and mitigate climate change.

The funds will be used to reduce potential wildfire fuel loads over 968 acres of forest, and to reforest 80 acres of private and public lands across the Santa Cruz Mountains. Partners involved in the project include Amah Mutsun Land Trust, Big Creek Lumber, California State Parks, Girl Scouts of Northern California, Peninsula Open Space Trust, San Mateo County Parks, Sempervirens Fund, Save the Redwoods League, and private landowners.

“Forests cross property lines, so collaborative efforts such as these are essential for restoring forest health,” states Lisa Lurie, Executive Director of the RCD of Santa Cruz County. “Through partnership, diverse interests are coming together to work towards common goals of reducing the risks of catastrophic wildfire while helping our forests to thrive.”

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