Sacramento Valley Region of RCDs Meeting

The following update was provided by Chester Anderson, District Manager of Western Shasta Resource Conservation District (RCD):

The first face-to-face meeting of a durable collaboration effort for the Sacramento Valley Region of RCDs was held last week in Orland.

There are 11 RCDs in the Sacramento Valley Region and at the table were: Yolo, Yuba, Sutter, Butte, Glenn, Colusa, Tehama, Lake and Shasta Counties along with the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts. Feather River RCD was interested but could not make it last week.

The purpose of the collaboration is to see if we can form, at the minimum, an agreement between the RCDs to more efficiently address regional conservation issues. The agreement will allow private, state, and federal entities the ability to contract directly to the Sacramento Valley of RCDs to address regional conservation issues instead of having to develop and administer a number of regional contracts to address the same conservation issue across district boundaries. To develop and implement the work the RCDs could more easily share expertise.

The collaborative effort is funded by the Bechtel Foundation through the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts. The Association hired Solid Ground Consulting to facilitate the effort and Solid Ground provided us with Jim Morris who was helped by Sara Schremmer of the State Association.
The 98 RCDs throughout the state already regularly share information through the Association and at the Association’s annual conference and a number of RCDs collaborate with their neighboring RCDs on projects. Larger collaborations, however, are difficult, especially when there are so many players with a long history of independence.

The 11 RCDs in the Sacramento Valley Region bring a number of resources to the table that includes over 50 staff, 50 directors and a bunch of equipment including chippers, water trailers, herbicide applicators and a tractor. The staff have a wide range of expertise from: permitting projects, fisheries and riparian habitat restoration, water conservation for farms, water quality sampling, addressing forestry issues, reducing fire fuels, soil health services, to developing carbon farm plans. The Directors bring connection to and local support from each county which is critical to getting conservation done on the ground.

At the minimum the staff and directors that were at the table last week felt that the potential for more efficiently addressing regional conservation issues is worth the extra effort. From this point forward the collaborative will hold a number of phone calls among the RCDs over the next several months and we will have at least one more face-to-face meeting to finalize an agreement.

Please wish us luck and stay tuned.

To learn more about RCD durable collaboration efforts, please visit our Capacity Building project page.