(831) 464-2950

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.

Davidson 2008 13As firefighters continue to make progress containing the wildfires that burn across our beloved Santa Cruz Mountains, our hearts are with those serving on the front lines, as well as those affected and displaced. Amidst the grief, the outpouring of community support to lift one another up has been inspiring. It is this strength of community that will pull us through, together. And as we begin to think beyond crisis response to recovery, know that the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County (RCD) is here in service to help heal the community by healing the land. We are coordinating with local, state, and federal partners to put in place critical information and technical assistance for post-fire watershed recovery across the affected area. We are working with our partners to gear up and prepare various resources for when those evacuated by the fire are able to safely return to their land.
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.”

Zayante Photo News ArticleStarting next week, the RCD, in partnership with the City of Santa Cruz, the San Lorenzo Valley Water District and the County of Santa Cruz will begin construction of an instream habitat improvement project along approximately one mile of upper Zayante Creek. Since 1994, Zayante Creek consistently has possessed some of the highest juvenile steelhead densities among tributaries of the San Lorenzo River and is currently a priority area for coho recovery. This project will improve conditions for steelhead and coho salmon by reintroducing large cut trees into the creek that will be anchored in place to mimic natural conditions that have been absent due to various activities over the last century. Large wood in the stream is critical for good stream function and creates pools, refuge areas for fish to hide and reduces channel downcutting. The project designs were funded by the California Coastal Conservancy and project construction monies are from a grant by the State Water Resources Control Board and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Please contact the RCD at 831-464-2950 is you have any questions about the project.

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