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The Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County (RCD) has received a small grant from the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District to support chipping services for fuel load reduction in Santa Cruz County. The funding is meant to provide an alternative to burning for communities identified as susceptible to wildfire in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (2010). Visit the following website to determine if you’re within the designated area

Rebates of up to $800 are available on a competitive basis to reimburse landowners for chipping services. Landowners are responsible for vegetation removal to comply with the 100 foot defensible space requirement. Visit the RCD’s website for more information on creating defensible space. The “Living With Fire Guide” is an essential resource for effective clearing of vegetative fuels around your home.

Landowners who are interested in applying for chipping rebates must complete and sign this Application for Chipper Program.pdf.  Please send completed applications to:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County
Attention: Alicia Moss, Program Manager
820 Bay Avenue, Suite 128
Capitola, CA 95010


Our featured project from the 2013 construction season is a dam removal on Branicforte Creek, check out the time lapse video below. Originally constructed in 1931, the initial purpose of the dam appears to have been water supply, recreation and fire protection, though it was no longer being used for these purposes. Local, State, and Federal resource agencies have been working for more than a decade to address and eliminate instream barriers to salmonid migration, such as this type of dam.

slough-pic-hydro-studyThe Watsonville Sloughs are a highly valued and unique freshwater wetland resource on the Central Coast. The Slough wetland complex has been modified significantly over the last 100 years, both in size and function. Agriculture and urban uses have encroached on wetland boundaries, portions of the system have been drained to allow farming, and urban development encircles the upper watersheds of three principal sloughs in the six slough system. There are significant draws of deep groundwater to support these activities and there are subsurface drainage structures that discharge shallow groundwater back to the sloughs.

karen-christensenKaren came to the RCD in 1995 as a volunteer, and over the following 19 years, she has built the organization into a groundbreaking, critical hub for land stewardship and conservation in Santa Cruz County and throughout California. Karen stepped down from her post as Executive Director this week to focus on her health. She will remain as a strategic advisor to the organization. As her role changes, we’d like to share a little about what Karen has done for the RCD and for the community.

When you ask any environmental professional in Santa Cruz County about Karen Christensen, you are bound to hear the same responses over and over: Collaborator, Leader, Visionary, Innovator. Through these traits and her consistent themes of partnership and trust, Karen has accomplished innumerable successes in improving water quality, creating new approaches to water supply issues, preserving and restoring habitat, conserving resources, and creating new ways of achieving conservation goals. She has led her organization, her community, and beyond by bringing new models of cooperation instead of regulation to solve complex local, regional, and statewide issues.

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