The RCD serves as a local hub for conservation, connecting people with the technical, financial, and educational assistance they need to conserve and manage natural resources and help the land recover following natural disasters. The RCD is a special district, a form of local government created by the community to meet a specific need – in this case the need for voluntary conservation of natural resources such as soil, water, and wildlife. Through partnerships and commitment to collaborative solutions, the RCD addresses current as well as emerging and pressing needs like climate change and wildfire resiliency, hand-in-hand with the community.
“The Resource Conservation District provides essential services for stormwater management, wildfire preparation and recovery, soil and water stewardship, and critical species and habitat restoration. These relief funds help our district confront COVID-19 and overcome related budget impacts at a critical time when the RCD is playing an important role in helping our local economy build back better and more resilient,” said Lisa Lurie, Executive Director. “We’re extremely grateful for this support and the work of Governor Newsom, Senator Atkins, Speaker Rendon and our local district Senator John Laird and Assemblymember Mark Stone who all helped to make this happen.”
This funding arrives after special districts across California experienced budget and staff cuts necessitated as a result of the COVID pandemic. Throughout 2020 and 2021, California’s special districts provided essential services to their local communities, maintained a large portion of the state’s critical infrastructure, and employed thousands of front-line workers, but initially received none of the COVID relief funding available to cities and counties.
“Special districts are addressing our biggest statewide challenges, all at the local level,” said Neil McCormick, CEO of the California Special Districts Association (CSDA). We applaud Governor Newsom and our Legislature for recognizing this and responding to our requests for partnership. Special districts make a difference throughout California and this funding will make a difference in the communities special districts serve.”
Statewide, more than 2,000 independent special districts across the state serve the needs of all 40 million Californians at some level, and more than 60 percent of these local agencies provide specialized services to a disadvantaged community.
# # #
About the RCD. Established in 1942, the RCD is a locally-governed special district and one of the oldest environmental organizations in the County. Originally tasked with helping farmers reduce erosion, the RCD has evolved alongside a changing community and now acts as a hub for conservation working with landowners in a non-regulatory manner to protect and improve our soil, water and wildlife. We rely heavily on competitive grants, service contracts, and private donations to deliver our mission. While it varies from year to year, we leverage each local tax dollar that we receive, on average, to bring over $33 of state, federal and other funds to Santa Cruz County to complete community conservation work.
About CSDA: The California Special Districts Association is a 501c(6), not-for-profit association representing more than 2,000 independent special districts that provide water, sanitation, fire protection, park and recreation, healthcare, electricity, port and harbor, resource conservation, library, cemetery, and other specialized community services throughout California.