The RCD seeks an Agricultural Technical Specialist to join a dynamic team of conservation and agriculture professionals. The Agricultural Technical Specialist will work closely with RCD Agricultural Program staff and with outside partners including University of California Cooperative Extension and the NRCS to provide irrigation water management assistance to agricultural water users in Santa Cruz County, primarily the Pajaro Valley. The Agricultural Technical Specialist will provide growers and irrigators with education, technical assistance, tools and information to evaluate and improve water use efficiency on farms, and will report on program outcomes to funders and stakeholders. They will also apply their skills with irrigation water management to help growers improve nutrient use efficiency, and assist with erosion control and conservation planning on farms. Most of the work is in the Pajaro Valley, where an over $600 million agriculture industry is heavily dependent on an overdrafted groundwater basin. Watersheds in the region drain into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and many surface waters are impaired for pollutants such as sediment, nutrients and pesticides. This position supports agriculture’s efforts to reduce groundwater pumping on a basin-wide scale, and protect our watersheds.
On 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.
The 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.”