Young children looking through binoculars in a desert landscape

Voluntary, locally-led conservation is a critical strategy for meeting today’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Whether responding to crises or planning for a sustainable future, Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) work hand-in-hand with their neighbors and partners to deliver innovative conservation solutions that meet those challenges head on.

The California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to serving as a strong advocate, technical resource, and partner to the state’s 96 RCDs so that they can be Relevant, Excellent, and Visible “go-to” hubs for conservation in their communities. We build the network and local impact of RCDs in California, strengthening locally-led conservation and stewardship of natural and agricultural resources.

Vision and Mission

Our vision:

California’s Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) are uniquely empowered to bring partners from every sector together to help our communities care for the land, air, water, and wildlife of our state. In serving these vital organizations, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) strives to support a healthy, resilient California for everyone.

Our vision is that every Resource Conservation District has the support, leadership, and capacity to help tackle our toughest natural resource issues by working in partnership with all members of the community.

Our mission:

The mission of the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts is to connect, serve, and champion the statewide network of Resource Conservation Districts.

  • We link RCDs in a strong, mutually supportive network working towards shared goals and resources.
  • We provide training, tools, and expertise to help RCDs achieve excellence.
  • We showcase the relevance of RCDs and make their work visible to elected officials, conservation leaders, and the community at large.

Overarching Strategic Approaches:

  • High-impact strategies that benefit RCDs: CARCD works to identify the strategies that provide the most leverage, where successful implementation will be transformative and help address many other issues, or the strategy itself provides multiple layers of benefit across objectives. All of our actions are directed towards the benefit of the RCDs we serve.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion: CARCD is committed to supporting the RCD network to serve all of California’s diverse communities. To this end, we will advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within our own organization, and we will assist the RCD network in integrating DEI into their organizations and programs. To learn more about the work we are doing, please visit the JEDI Committee page.
  • Partnership: We prioritize collaboration with partners at every level of government and the private sector, including with all RCDs statewide and with many state and federal agencies and nonprofit organizations. We recognize that these partnerships are vital to CARCD’s success. We will also continue to nurture our special relationships with core partners, the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the California Department of Conservation, to achieve our strategic plan goals.


Amplifying Impact

RCDs need a strong state association to speak for their collective needs. Our partners need responsive, innovative, and effective support and coordination from CARCD to tap into the technical skill and expertise of the statewide RCD network.

In order to amplify our collective impact, CARCD strives for a diversity of participation and ideas from our internal and external networks; we believe that bringing people together is the only way to achieve our common goals.

Conservation & Stewardship

Conservation and stewardship of agricultural and natural resources has significant environmental, economic, and societal value, and RCDs play a critical role in these efforts.

Voluntary, Locally-led Conservation

Voluntary, locally-led conservation is an effective and efficient strategy at getting work done on-the-ground. This approach is even more effective when it is comprehensive and ecosystem-based.

Locally-led conservation requires good relationships with and among local communities, landowners, and partners. CARCD and RCDs value these relationships and are the ideal entities to make these connections.

Resource Sharing

RCDs need resources to realize their core values, achieve resource conservation benefits, and support agricultural viability and sustainability in California. Our network shares resources amongst each other and with our partners whenever possible.

Collective Action

California’s natural resource management and agricultural challenges are bigger than any one of us could tackle alone. We have greater impact when we work collectively to address local, regional, and statewide challenges.

Engagement with Decision-makers

Decision-makers who are educated about natural resources, agriculture, and the important role of RCDs make better decisions about California’s future.

Commitment to Diversity

In February 2019, the Board of Directors approved a resolution to outline a commitment to diversity within the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts and the RCD community. To read the full resolution please click here.