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The RCD seeks a Program Specialist to join a dynamic team of conservation and agriculture professionals. The Program Specialist will work closely with partners to lead watershed coordination, development and implementation of stewardship in agriculture programs throughout Santa Cruz County and in the Pajaro Valley in particular. Example projects the Program Specialist will lead include coordination of the Community Water Dialogue (a landowner driven effort to reduce aquifer overdraft in the Pajaro Valley), projects to reduce sediment and pesticide loading from farms, and stormwater collection and infiltration projects. This work supports agriculture’s efforts to steward water supplies and protect water quality. The work environment is fast paced, collaborative, and creative.

 

Click here for a full job description.

Application deadline is April 27, 2018.

The Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County (District) is a non-regulatory special district that helps people protect, conserve, and restore natural resources through technical assistance, information, and educational programs. The District works with a wide variety of partners, including farming and ranching operations, urban/rural landowners, local agencies and federal, state and local governments. District staff also works closely with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The Executive Director (ED) leads a hardworking, professional staff that works under conditions of considerable independence. The ED is involved in many aspects of program planning, management and implementation. As such, the position requires a broad-based knowledge of natural resources, strong fund development skills, self-direction, strategic thinking, collaborative leadership and problem-solving. The ED is expected to build effective relationships with a large and varied group of agricultural, regulatory, environmental, and research communities, as well as with the public at large.

The ED must possess a strong desire to work with a wide variety of partners and community stakeholders including environmental, agricultural, government, philanthropic individuals and groups.
The ED is an at-will employee who reports to a seven-member Board of Directors (Board) and is responsible for delivering services as outlined by the Board. The ED is the chief administrative officer of the District and is responsible for managing business operations and serves as the public face of the District.

The ED is expected to carry out their duties within a forty-hour week, but work hours are flexible. Attendance is required at occasional evening and weekend activities, and some activities may be out of the district. The ED is a three-quarters to full-time position based on a Monday through Friday daytime schedule. Some job related travel is required and will be billed on a cost reimbursable basis. Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications. 

pdfDowload the full postion description and requirements.

Erosion Prevention GridsGrids installed in high traffic areas in paddocks help reduce mud and erosion.The Livestock and Land program, managed locally by the Loma Prieta and San Benito, and Santa Cruz Resource Conservation Districts (RCD’s), is offering $175,000 in grants to local livestock owners in southern Santa Clara and San Benito Counties located in the Pajaro River Watershed. The monies will help pay for improvements to livestock and horse properties that need assistance with managing drainage, erosion, stormwater runoff and manure.

The Livestock and Land program 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. The program works with residents on a voluntary basis to reduce stormwater runoff by implementing goodIMG 5203A vegetated filter strip filters runoff from the paddocks and reduces erosion. drainage practices. Past projects have included everything from gutter and downspouts to French drains to manure composting facilities to fencing and more. “The great thing about this program,” explains Dina Iden, Executive Director of the Loma Prieta RCD, “is that the benefits go far beyond water quality improvements to our local creeks and streams. Depending on what upgrades you make, cleaning stalls can get easier, animal health issues can be reduced; maintenance cost can be lowered, your property can be safer, and it may even increase in value. It’s basically a win-win.” According to Iden, property owners can get up to 50% of the cost of improvements covered by the program. And there may be other federal grants programs that can be combined with this program to cover even more of the cost. The program also offers no-cost technical assistance and project designs. Funding for the program is made possible through an EPA Clean Water Grant and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

If you are interested in seeing examples of past projects, visit the program web site at www.livestockandland.org. Applications are currently being accepted for 2018 projects. Contact Dina Iden at 408-847-4171 find out more about the program or to get an application. The program also offers educational workshops and hands-on trainings. You can ask to be added to the mailing list if you would to get updates on these opportunities.


Do you know the water level in your private well?  Observing the level over time can provide insight into the longevity of your well and water supply. In addition to knowing your well’s condition, practicing water conservation is a cost-effective way to increase your well’s lifetime. These efforts also help ensure that we have a long-term water supply in the Mid-County Groundwater Basin. The basin provides drinking water to the residents of Capitola, Live Oak, Soquel and Aptos from the mountains to coast.

Photo 1 Well Access PortFor well level tests, the well heads should have an access port of 5/8 inch (16 mm) or larger.The Resource Conservation District, in a partnership with the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency, is offering free water level and conservation evaluations for well owners in the Mid-county area.  You can enter your address at www.midcountygroundwater.org to determine if you are in the Mid-County Basin boundaries. Water levels are measured by using equipment that sends sound waves down the well through the access port to estimate water depth. It’s best to take the measurement twice per year – once in the spring when water levels are usually at their peak, and once in the fall when they are at their lowest. This range of water levels can be compared with measurements taken in subsequent years to establish trends. Landowners can receive no-cost water level services every year through the County of Santa Cruz.

 

Photo 2 GerryAssessmentGerry Spinelli of the Resource Conservation District checking the flow rate of a sink.A water conservation evaluation will be completed in conjunction with the water level tests. The assessment will look at indoor fixtures to determine what upgrades, if any, will promote the greatest water use reduction. A simple outdoor irrigation audit will also be conducted with the option for more thorough evaluation for properties with large landscapes or agricultural crops. Armed with this information, landowners can take actions to improve conservation efforts and extend the useful life of their well. 

Data collected will be compiled on an anonymous basis to help the Agency better characterize water use in the Basin. The evaluations will also help drive possible services, such as rebates for low water use fixture or efficient irrigation equipment that could benefit well owners. In Santa Cruz County, rebates for low-flow toilets, washing machines, and other fixtures are currently only available to municipal water customers.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment or want more information on this service, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at or call (831) 464-2950 X 22.

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