2020 Agenda

2020 CARCD Virtual Conference

2020 Tracks Choose a track to filter the schedule, or click here to show all tracks

Thursday, Nov 12

Agenda

9:30 am 11:00 am

NRCS-RCD Family Meeting

  • Carlos Suarez, State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Gayle Barry, Deputy State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Karen Buhr, Executive Director, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts
  • Don Butz, Board Chair of CARCD, Fire Chief at Lakeside Fire Protection District

Join the Natural Resources Conservation Service-Resource Conservation District family meeting! Leadership from the organizations will highlight the successes of the partnership in California and set visions for the future. Half of the meeting will be devoted to questions from NRCS staff/ RCD members around the State.

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11:30 am 1:30 pm

A Primer on Tribal Relationships in Conservation

  • Meagan Baldy, Executive Director, Klamath-Trinity RCD
  • Dr. Vanessa Esquivido, Assistant professor, Multicultural and Genders Studies; American Indian Studies, California State University, Chico
  • Pedro Torres, Tribal Liaison for Southern California, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Kagat McQuillen, Northern California American Indian Liaison, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

A Primer on Tribal Relationships in Conservation will be a brief exploration of concepts and strategies for partnering with tribes and tribal members in conservation efforts. It will begin with an introduction to California tribes by Dr. Vanessa Esquivido and Kagat McQuillen; Pedro Torres will delve into California NRCS’s approach to engaging tribes in the development of their programs, Keir Johnson will explore the successes of the Intertribal Agriculture Council, and Meagen Baldy will outline the structure of the Klamath Trinity Conservation District and how the Hoopa Valley Tribe has benefitted from its programs.

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2:00 pm 3:00 pm

Friendraising and Building Private Donors

  • Marc Smiley, Principal, Solid Ground Consulting

Private donations can increase the diversity of your organization’s funding sources and give you more freedom and flexibility to achieve your goals. Learn how to make “friendraising” fun and easy with this training brought to you by long-time RCD network partner, Marc Smiley Solid Ground.

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3:00 pm 4:30 pm

RCD Staff and Board Social

Make new connections, say hi to old friends, and mingle with RCD staff and board and NRCS from the comfort of your home or office! This Social Hour will consist of introductions, ice-breakers, small group chats, and team game.

5:00 pm 6:00 pm

RCD Business Meeting

Opening of Annual Business meeting with member RCD directors. Includes a presentation of CARCD Strategic Direction 2021-2023.

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Friday, Nov 13

Agenda

8:15 am 9:00 am

Breakfast Bytes with Karen and Chris

Brew some coffee, grab a bite and meet your fellow conference attendees. These sessions will be a landing place for your day including interactive discussions partially in small group breakouts that highlight events from the day before and the upcoming day and give yourself a chance to talk with participants. Hosted by Karen, CARCD, and Chris Rose, Solano RCD.

9:30 am 10:30 am

What Makes Funders Tick?

  • Matt Wisniewski, Associate Program Officer, SD Bechtel Jr. Foundation
  • Kaitilin Gaffney, Director/Attorney, Ocean, Coast, and Fisheries, Resources Legacy Fund

Private foundation Program Officers give insight into what foundations are looking for and how to work with them to provide mutually beneficial projects.

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11:00 am 12:30pm

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dialogue

  • Kelli McCune, Project Director, Conservation Incentives, Sustainable Conservation
  • Manuel Oliva, Chief Executive Officer, Point Blue Conservation Science

Discussions of how diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are being incorporated into our work. The first panel is a conversation with partners about the work they are doing within their organizations. The second highlights recipients of mini-grants that are implementing programs in their communities and the third is a discussion of where CARCD is headed in 2021. The goal is to provide insight, discussion, optimism, and examples of various levels of DEI work.

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1:00pm 2:00pm

Breakout Sessions

RCD Trainings

The Letter of the Law: Public Records and Website Compliance Standards for Your District

Public Records Act 101

  • Annie Loo, PRA Services and E-Discovery Attorney, Best Best & Krieger

The California Public Records Act (PRA) was adopted to foster transparency, accountability and greater public access to government records, but compliance can be complicated, costly, and time consuming. This is especially true with increasing amounts of electronic data being stored, accessed and shared on both public and private devices. In this session, Best Best & Krieger attorney Annie Loo will provide information on making the most of publicly available information, knowing requesters’ rights, public offices’ obligations and the secrets to a successful public records request, and much more. After completing this session, attendees will feel more confident in knowing the best practices for responding to PRA requests.

California Website Compliance

  • Sloane Dell’Orto, Co-founder, Streamline

Senate Bill 929 went into effect in January, and requires all independent special districts to maintain a website. There are five posting requirements for RCDs, and your website must also be ADA / Section 508 compliant for visitors with disabilities. In this brief talk we’ll go over the requirements, demonstrate how attendees can test their site for accessibility, and provide resources that can help ensure you stay in compliance.

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RCD Trainings

District Manager Supervision and Evaluation

  • Amy Stork, Principal, Amy Stork Consulting

This workshop is for board members and district managers/executive directors. One of the Board’s responsibilities is the supervision and annual performance review of the RCD’s lead staff person – the district manager or executive director. This workshop will offer ideas for how the board can create a meaningful supervision and evaluation experience to help the executive staff person grow professionally – without overtaxing the volunteer board.

Recording not available

RCD Trainings

Ready for 2021: Emergency Preparedness

Building Community Resiliency through Emergency Preparedness

  • Lisa DuMolt, Director of Community Services, Catholic Charities, Diocese of San Diego
  • Sharin Yetman, Director, AmeriCorps Seniors, Catholic Charities, Diocese of San Diego

Are you Ready? Listos California, an Emergency Preparedness campaign designed by the Governor’s Office and the California Office of Emergency Services, in response to increased natural disasters in California, uses community based organizations to reach vulnerable populations to deliver emergency preparedness lessons. Learn how Foster Grandparents, College Interns and Refugees are adapting to virtual platforms and using everything from coloring books to text messaging to build community resiliency and teach emergency preparedness.

COVID Lock-down Fuels Fire Prevention in San Diego Communities

  • J. Britney Munoz, Fire Safe Council Coordinator, RCD of Greater San Diego County

San Diego’s community fire safe councils are not taking the global COVID pandemic lying down. They have risen to the occasion, and are using this downtime to create stronger community bonds in innovative new ways, while continuing to educate the public on fire safety. All volunteer-based, our fire safe councils are using this time to take stock – quite literally – in how they help their communities. For instance, some fire safe councils have spent this downtime cleaning out their storage units. And guess what they found? Extra N-95 masks that they were able to donate to first responders and nursing staff at local hospitals. Some are using this time to deliver meals to the elderly. Others are donating masks to their community members, on which they have printed their important fire safe council information. While another fire safe council leader used her grant funding to erect a fire safe garden in an urban community garden space to spark conversation on fire prevention planting. Lastly, some hard-working fire safe councils have partnered with local agencies and delivering exciting pop-up fire safety dive through fairs to spread their prevention and mitigation mission.

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2:30 pm 3:30 pm

Breakout Sessions

RCD Trainings

NRCS and RCDs Serving Their Communities: Local Working Groups

Outreach and Local Working Groups

  • Alan Forkey, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs (Retired), Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Christine Chavez, Outreach Coordinator, Natural Resources Conservation Service

The Local Working Group is convened by the RCD and serves in an advisory capacity to NRCS to help deliver Farm Bill programs. Membership is open to conservation organizations, commodity groups, individuals/owners of private non-industrial forestry land, and Indian tribes. In the MOA with NRCS, the RCD agrees to develop a conservation needs assessment through broad-based community participation. Outreach to community members can help to identify potential members of the Local Working Group. This presentation will help you better understand the role of the Local Working Group and how to reach to potential members in your community for a diverse, equitable, and inclusive team.

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Successful Grant Development and Implementation: Can the Cal Am Team Model Work for You?

  • John Heissenbutel, Calaveras Amador Forestry Team
  • Jan Bray, Calaveras Amador Forestry Team
  • Pat McGreevy, Calaveras Amador Forestry Team

The Calaveras Amador Forestry Team (Cal Am Team) is a three-person team of retirees comprised of two Registered Professional Foresters and a GIS Specialist who volunteer their time to write fire protection and forest restoration grants for Fire Safe Councils, other non-profits, County governments and RCDs in the two counties. Since 2015, the Cal Am Team has secured in excess of $15 million in grant funding. Often the Cal Am Team is involved in grant implementation including environmental/cultural resource protection compliance, contractor selection, on-the-ground operations oversight, and financial management. In this workshop the members of the Cal Am Team will share their experiences and lessons learned from grant development through implementation. You will learn about and discuss what works and what doesn’t in all facets of grant development, management and implementation.

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Monday, Nov 16

Agenda

8:15 am 9:00 am

Breakfast Bytes with Karen and Mandy

  • Karen Buhr, Executive Director, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts
  • Mandy Parkes, Executive Director, Inland Empire Resource Conservation District

Brew some coffee, grab a bite and meet your fellow conference attendees. These sessions will be a landing place for your day including interactive discussions partially in small group breakouts that highlight events from the day before and the upcoming day and give yourself a chance to talk with participants.

9:30 am 11:30 am

Opening Plenary: The Future of a Resilient California

Land Acknowledgment

  • Albert Titman, Senior Elder of Miwuk, Maidu, Nisenan, and Pit River

CARCD Welcome

  • Karen Buhr, Executive Director
  • Don Butz, President, CARCD

Keynote Speaker: Wade Crowfoot

In this engaging conversation, the Secretary of Resources will discuss the opportunities and challenges to a resilient California including the Governor’s working lands executive order, the State budget, the importance of local conservation, Cutting Green Tape and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Keynote Panel: Growing Meaningful Collaboration While Facing Our 75 Years of Indigenous Underrepresentation

This session will focus on Indigenous approaches to land management, culture, community, and food systems and the inherent opportunities present in growing mutual partnerships with California’s Tribal communities.

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12:00 pm 1:00 pm

Breakout Sessions

Working Lands

California Indian Basketweavers' Association: Following the Smoke II

  • Alice Lincoln-Cook, Chairperson, California Indian Basketweavers’ Association

California Indian Basketweavers’ Association’s (CIBA) vision is to preserve, promote and perpetuate California Indian basketweaving traditions while providing a healthy physical, social, spiritual and economic environment for basketweavers.

CIBA Chairperson, Alice Lincoln-Cook (Karuk), will walk us through Following the Smoke II, a project that is being proposed by a coalition of individuals, organizations, and agencies to promote and support traditional American Indian basket weaving in northwestern California. The project will focus on renewing and providing support to tribal groups to reintroduce or strengthen traditional basket weaving, the gathering of materials, and the enhancement of ethnobotanical areas.

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Coffee Chat

Coffee Chat with Secretary Karen Ross and Jenny Lester Moffitt

  • Karen Ross, Secretary of Agriculture, California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • Jenny Lester Moffitt, Undersecretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture

Grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and have an intimate conversation with Secretary Ross and Undersecretary Jenny Lester Moffitt.

Note: Registration is limited to 15 participants.

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Making Conservation Happen: Stories from the regional lines- Conservancies and RCDs

  • Mark Egbert, District Manager, El Dorado and Georgetown Divide RCDs
  • Sam Schuchat, Executive Officer, Coastal Conservancy
  • Lisa Lurie, Executive Director, RCD of Santa Cruz County
  • Keali’i Bright, Division Director, Division of Land Resource Protection, Department of Conservation

Many factors go into making conservation happen in an effective way. This panel will highlight the critical regional/ local partnership of the conservancies and RCDs by focusing on two collaborative projects.

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Working Lands

Think Globally, Act Locally: Helping Cities and Counties Achieve Climate Action Plans

Panel — Climate Action Planning

  • Lucas Patzek, Executive Director, Napa County RCD
  • Linda Brown, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of SCS Global Services, and Co-Founder of Napa Climate NOW!
  • Patricia Hickey, Managing Director, Carbon Cycle Institute
  • Heather Nichols, Executive Director, Yolo County RCD
  • Nancy Scolari, Executive Director, Marin RCD
  • Megan McCluer, Executive Director, Mendocino RCD

Linda Brown will present on climate accounting metrics that are based on the latest climate science, and explore how RCDs can better quantify and communicate the climate impacts of their programs. Patricia Hickey will provide a brief overview on the Natural and Working Lands elements of climate action planning—from methods to measures and goal setting with the agricultural community–and its alignment with our carbon farm planning framework and the on-going work of RCDs. Staff from the resource conservation districts in Marin, Mendocino, San Mateo, and Yolo County will share how their organizations are becoming or have been involved in local and regional climate action planning processes.

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Fire Protection & Forestry

Planning for the Landscape of Tomorrow: Defensible Space and Home Hardening

A New Platform for Eco-appropriate Homescaping for Wildfire Resilience in the Santa Monica Mountains

  • Antoine Kunsch, Community Resilience Coordinator, RCD of the Santa Monica Mountains

In September 2020, the RCD of the Santa Monica Mountains launched a new online platform to provide guidance for creating and maintaining a sustainable defensible space. This tool is designed for homeowners and residents of the Santa Monica Mountains to help them prioritize home hardening and landscaping actions, whether it is for new constructions, retrofits, or routine maintenance. This presentation will go over the different sections of the website and explore the advantages and pitfalls of collaboration between agencies and local organizations that helped design it.

Clarifying the Messaging on Urban Forestry in Defensible Space

  • Dan Jackman, Urban Forestry Specialist, Davey Resource Group

In partnership with the California Urban Forest Council, US Forest Service and Cal Fire, our team has been reviewing and comparing available resources from both public and non-profit agencies in the Napa & Sonoma region regarding vegetation management within defensible space and the mainstream perception of the role of urban forestry in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). It is our goal to make certain that people recognize the diverse benefits that trees provide, as well as the importance of properly installing and maintaining trees within one’s defensible space and the role this plays to reduce the likelihood of potential home ignitions.

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Watershed Health

Working with the Licensed Cannabis Farming Community: A Round Robin with RCDs

  • Devin Best, Executive Director, Upper Salinas Las Tablas RCD
  • Patty Madigan, Conservation Programs Manager, RCD of Mendocino County
  • Grant Johnson, Environmental Resource Specialist, Coastal San Luis RCD
  • Kelly Sheen, District Manager, Trinity RCD
  • Anna Olsen, District Manager, Cachuma RCD

In this session we will provide a brief overview of cannabis as an agricultural crop in California. Five RCDs will discuss how and why they engage with their cannabis communities, program development, program funding, and the importance of county relationships. CARCD will moderate the panel discussion and welcome questions from the audience.

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Coffee Chat

Coffee Chat with Marie Liu, Policy Consultant, Office of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon

  • Marie Liu, Policy Consultant, Office of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon

Grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and have an intimate conversation with Marie Liu. In this open, conversational format, she will be shedding light on how RCDs can best connect with and have effective partnerships with their legislators.

Note: Registration is limited to 15 participants

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3:00 pm 4:30 pm

Breakout Sessions

Working Lands

The Roots of Carbon Storage: Carbon Farming Success Stories

Carbon Farming on Working Lands on the South Central Coast

  • Hallie Richard, Conservation Program Manager, Coastal San Luis RCD
  • Devin Best, Executive Director, Upper Salinas-Las Tablas RCD
  • Anna Olsen Executive Director Cachuma RCD

The South Central Coast, represented by the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas RCD, Coastal San Luis RCD, Cachuma RCD, and Ventura County RCD, is a diverse agricultural region that, like all of California, faces ecological and economic risks due to drought and climate change. Carbon Farming has been identified as an effective way to help achieve emission reduction goals as well as improve on-farm productivity and viability, enhance ecosystem and landscape function, and mitigate climate change. The SCC regional RCDs have collectively completed 6 plans on over 17,000 acres, with 9 more plans in progress, and are collaborating with the Carbon Cycle Institute and other RCDs across the state to secure funding for sustained development and implementation on Carbon Farm plans in the region.

Panel — The Carbon Farming Network: Success Stories

  • Pelayo Alvarez, Director of Outreach and Partnerships, Carbon Cycle Institute
  • Steve Haze, District Manager, Sierra RCD
  • Chandra Richards, Conservation Ecologist, RCD of Greater San Diego County
  • Yvonne Franco, District Manager, Coachella Valley RCD
  • William Hart, Project Manager, Gold Ridge RCD
  • Ian Howell, Resource Conservationist, Alameda RCD
  • Kelly Schoonmaker, Program Manager, StopWaste

Resource Conservation Districts are working together and building local partnerships to provide solutions to climate change through the development of Carbon Farming Programs. More than 35 RCDs are already developing and implementing carbon farming activities in their districts. These activities include: working with producers to create Carbon Farm Plans, implementing carbon farming practices, conducting outreach, engaging in the development of county climate action plans, establishing demonstration sites for carbon farming practices, participating in research trials and seeking funding opportunities through local carbon markets and philanthropy. RCDs and their partners across the state will share their success building Carbon Farming Programs.

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Watershed Health

Groundwater Recharge: Measuring and Assessing Conservation Success

Fill in the Blank: Assessing and Addressing Data Gaps for Groundwater Sustainability Planning

  • Ethan Brown, Monitoring Technician, Shasta Valley RCD

The Shasta Valley RCD was awarded funding through the Sustainable Groundwater Planning (SGWP) grant program. Through review of existing watershed documents, collaboration with local advisory groups, and partnerships with public and private stakeholders, the Shasta Valley RCD is utilizing funding to implement projects geared towards gathering high priority data needed for the development of a robust management plan. These projects include constructing precipitation and evapotranspiration gauges to help refine the basin’s water budget, understanding surface water-groundwater interactions by installing shallow monitoring wells, and installing water level loggers in existing wells throughout the basin to ensure sustainability.

An Innovative Way to Measure Conservation Practices on Working Lands: Resource Efficiency Assessment Index

  • Matt Angell, Director, Madera / Chowchilla RCD and San Joaquin County RCD

In light of Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), nitrogen management, CVsalts and Healthy Soils, and other significant environmental challenges in the San Joaquin Valley, we have developed an innovative way to measure conservation practices (CAP)—a indicator score that quantifies ecological and economic processes and practices. The tool will integrate financial, design/engineering and biological disciplines to audit and measure various factors of a crop growing environment. Long term, results are better social, economic and ecological resiliency for the producer, the community, the region and the state.

Groundwater Recharge Conservation Practice Standards

  • Greg Norris, State Conservation Engineer, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Two interim Conservation Practice Standards for groundwater recharge have been developed by NRCS-California. The two practices will be applied through NRCS Farm-Bill programs to address the Groundwater Depletion resource concern.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Fire Protection & Forestry

After the Fire: RCDs Working with Landowners to Restore Their Forest

  • Mark Egbert, District Manager, El Dorado & Georgetown Divide RCDs
  • Mary Mayeda, Forest Program Manager, Mendocino County RCD
  • Laurie Tippin, Chair, Joint Forestry Committee
  • Al Klem, State Forest Legacy Program Coordinator, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

With over 4.2 million acres of forest, shrub and subdivision land burned by wildfire in 2020, many private forest landowners will want guidance and technical assistance to restore their damaged land. RCDs are the local, on-the-ground resource specialists who can assist in this great time of need. Join an informative panel presentation from RCD and California State specialists on processes, insights, lessons learned, opportunities and requirements for assisting forest landowners after wildfire (or any catastrophic event). This session is a “must attend” if your area was impacted by this year’s wildfires!

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Coffee Chat

Coffee Chat with Meagen Baldy, Klamath Trinity RCD and Keir Johnson, Intertribal Agriculture Council

  • Meagen Baldy, Executive Director, Klamath-Trinity RCD
  • Keir Johnson, Pacific Regional Technical Assistance Specialist/National TA Lead, Intertribal Agricultural Council

Grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and have an intimate conversation with Meagen Baldy and Keir Johnson.

Note: Registration is limited to 15 participants.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Tuesday, Nov 17

Agenda

8:15 am 9:00 am

Breakfast Bytes with Karen and Devin

  • Karen Buhr, CARCD
  • Devin Best, Upper-Salinas Las Tablas RCD

Brew some coffee, grab a bite and meet your fellow conference attendees. These sessions will be a landing place for your day including interactive discussions partially in small group breakouts that highlight events from the day before and the upcoming day and give yourself a chance to talk with participants.

9:30 am 10:30 am

Breakout Sessions

Watershed Health

Licensed Cannabis and Healthy Watersheds: A Conversation with California Agencies

Licensed Cannabis in California: A Moderated Discussion with Agencies and CARCD

  • Kevin Porzio, Cannabis Regulatory Unit Senior, State Water Board- Division of Water Quality
  • Philp Dutton, Cannabis Registration Unit Senior, State Water Board- Division of Water Rights
  • Ryan Mathis, Environmental Program Manager, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Margaret Mantor, Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist), California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Lindsay Rains, Licensing Program Manager, California Department of Food and Agriculture- CalCannabis
  • Hezekiah Allen, Chair, Emerald Grown

Hezekiah Allen, of Emerald Grown, will moderate a discussion among California cannabis agencies and CARCD to give an overview and an update on cannabis licensing in this fast changing sector. We will explore ideas for streamlining and collaboration so as to further incentivize enrollment.

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Working Lands

Keeping the Home on the Range: Conservation Easements on Rangelands

Evolution of Conservation Easements in Sierra Valley

  • Tracy Schohr Livestock and Natural Resouces Advisor Plumas, Sierra and Butte Counties, University of California Cooperative Extension

The 120,000 acre Sierra Valley located in Northern California has a strong ranching culture, is biologically diverse and widely viewed by conservation groups as a unique ecological resource. The first conservation easement was completed in Sierra Valley in the 1990’s and since then, 21 easements have been recorded on over 35,000 acres. This presentation will discuss the evolution of deeded terms for conservation easements over the past 2 decades.

Conservation Easements: A Tool for Business, Estate and Succession Planning

  • Nancy Schaefer, Bay Area Program Manager, California Rangeland Trust
  • Michael Delbar, Chief Executive Officer, California Rangeland Trust

Conservation easements can be an integral part of a business, succession, and/or estate plan that aims to keep the ranch or farm in the family, continue agricultural production, and permanently conserve a ranch or farm. The California Rangeland Trust will present an overview of conservation easements and their role in ranch and farm planning.

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Habitat & Wildlife Conservation

Monarch Overwintering Habitat: Keys to Successful Assessment and Restoration

A Laser Focus on Monarch Overwintering Habitat: Using LiDAR to Assess Forest Structure and Microclimate

  • Stuart Weiss, Chief Scientist, Creekside Science
  • Tom Robinson, Principal, Tom Robinson Consulting

Overwintering sites for monarch butterflies need to provide an exacting set of microclimate conditions to attract and retain butterflies through the fall and winter. Monarchs seek wind-sheltered areas within forests with a mix of full and dappled sunlight, often provided by groves of Eucalyptus trees on the immediate coast or shore of San Francisco Bay. The canopy structure of these groves can be mapped by LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), shooting a laser beam from an aircraft and measuring return times, thereby building up a detailed 3-D view of the trunks, branches, and leaves that filter wind and light. Wind at the canopy surface from various directions can be approximated by the program “Wind-Ninja” and solar radiation on an hourly basis can be calculated in ARCGIS. Both analyses resolve down to scales of several meters, so the roles of individual tree canopies can be determined. The results are field checked with hemispherical photography from below the canopy. These methods are under development at sites near Bodega Bay, under a grant to the Gold Ridge RCD, and will eventually be applied to numerous sites in California. The analyses will form the basis for detailed site management plans to maintain the proper microclimatic envelope for monarchs, within specified forest footprints, over coming decades.

Sustaining Western Monarch Populations: Approaches to Restoring Overwintering Habitat

  • Andrew Spyrka, Resource Conservation Specialist, Ventura County RCD
  • Jamie Whiteford, District Scientist, Ventura County RCD

It is commonly understood that the Monarch population is in dramatic decline across the Western United States. To combat this, the Ventura County Resource Conservation District created a multifaceted, long-term Monarch and Pollinator Program to rebuild the population by enhancing essential habitat. This multi-beneficial Program will first attempt to restore Monarch Overwintering Habitat through partnership agreements with local and regional community members, developers, officials, and municipalities through State and Federal funding. This presentation will discuss the challenges thus far in the Program, exploring negotiations with developers and landowners, working with project funders to explore less restrictive agreements, and not taking no for an answer. Ventura County RCD will also discuss creating a regional Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) that will bring local, state, and federal agencies together with community members, nonprofits, and other interested organizations to achieve the shared goal of enhancing habitat for the Western Monarch population.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Coffee Chat

Coffee Chat with Carlos Suarez and Gayle Barry, USDA NRCS

  • Carlos Suarez, State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
    Gayle Barry, Deputy State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and have an intimate conversation with Carlos Saurez and Gayle Barry.

Note: Registration is limited to 15 participants.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

11:00 am 12:30 pm

The Future of Forest Health and Fire Resilience Starts Here, Featuring Chief Thom Porter

Keynote Speaker: Chief Thom Porter

Panel: The Future of Forest Health and Fire Resilience Starts Here

  • Thom Porter, Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
  • Jessica Morse, Deputy Secretary for Forest Resource Management, California Natural Resources Agency
  • Barnie Gyant, Deputy Regional Forester Pacific Southwest Region, US Forest Service
  • Henry Stern, Senator, California State Senate 27th District

In this panel discussion, the leaders in Forestry and Fire in California will discuss the opportunities and challenges to a resilient forest landscape in California. They will discuss the particular challenges of fire storms and the needed changes and collaborations that will get us a fire season that is manageable and liveable.

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1:00 pm 2:30 pm

Head, Hands and Heart – The Tools of Change

  • Gladys Ruiz, Program Associate, Center for Diversity and the Environment
  • Tanya Pluth, Program Associate, Center for Diversity and the Environment
  • Enriqueta Gonzalez, Director, Center for Diversity and the Environment

Equity, diversity and inclusion work is not swift: it is an iterative process of awareness building, information gathering, analysis, vision development, planning, and action. There is no magic shortcut.

In this session, we will co-create an interactive space to explore change and the importance of engaging in the work of equity, diversity and inclusion with our heads, hands and hearts. The topics include emotional intelligence and diversity; the role of wholeheartedness in the work of equity, diversity and inclusion; Center for Diversity & the Environment’s theory of change; the importance of developing your personal and organizational “Why” statements; and considerations as you develop ways to move toward action.

We will work in the large group and in small group via zoom. This is an interactive session and your full engagement is requested.

This session was an interactive workshop and was not recorded.

3:00 pm 4:30 pm

Breakout Sessions

Working Lands

Environmental Farming for ALL: Strategies for Reaching Underserved Farmers

Getting Creative in a Pandemic: Alternative Strategies to In-Person Gatherings to Support Socially Disadvantaged and Women Farmers in California

  • Carmen Carrasco, CA Farms for a New Generation Program Manager, American Farmland Trust
  • Caitlin Joseph, Women for the Land Outreach Coordinator, American Farmland Trust

American Farmland Trust’s Underserved Farmer Outreach Program (UFOP) and Women for the Land (WFL) Initiative will discuss some of the strategies these programs have adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic as alternatives to in-person gatherings and workshops. Participants will learn about some of the tools the UFOP program developed and is currently using to bring technical assistance on sustainable agriculture practices to socially disadvantaged farmers and WFL’s virtual Learning Circle model including best-practices, lessons-learned, and feedback generated from this effort to bring women in agriculture together.

Coachella Valley RCD and Inland Empire RCD: Capacity-Building in Partnership with NRCS

  • Lucia Ceja, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist, Inland Empire RCD
  • Tomas Aguilar-Campos, District Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Allen Curry, District Conservationist – Indio Office, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Inland Empire RCD and NRCS staff will provide an overview of the development of technical assistance programming focused on irrigation and soils management in support of existing and new producers. The presentation will also highlight design and delivery of conservation outreach with a major focus on historically underserved Spanish-speaking farmers as a means to increase access and participation in NRCS funding and technical assistance programs.

Using SWEEP to Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Agricultural Projects That Improve Irrigation Efficiency

  • Steph Jamis, Environmental Scientist, California Department of Food and Agriculture

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) administers a competitive grant program for California farmers and ranchers, allowing for the implementation of improved irrigation systems. These improvements will reduce both on-farm water use and greenhouse gas emissions on the agricultural operation. This presentation will review the steps that SWEEP has taken to increase access to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Fire Protection & Forestry

Success Stories of Regional Forest Health Collaboration

Panel — Regional Forest Health Collaboration with CalFire and the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program

  • Keali’I Bright, Department of Conservation
  • Angie Lottes, CAL FIRE
  • Alex Vance, Sierra Nevada Conservancy
  • Shenna Sidhu, San Mateo RCD
  • Jamie Tuitele-Lewis, RCD of Monterey County
  • Cybelle Immitt, Humboldt County North Coast Resource Partnership

Representatives from CalFire and Regional Forest and Fire Capacity grantees will highlight their success working regionally to develop healthy forests and fuels management plans. CalFire representatives will describe the work of the Forest Management Task Force regional prioritization groups and the importance of RCD participation. RFFC block grantees will detail how they have worked with RCDs and other partners towards developing Regional Priority Plan, planning projects, and implementing demonstration projects. The work of CalFire and RFFC grantees demonstrate the importance of working with a broad coalition of interests to address forestry and fire issues statewide. Workshop participants will learn how they can contribute to these important regional efforts.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Coffee Chat

Coffee Chat with Calla Rose Ostrander

Grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and have an intimate conversation with Calla Rose Ostrander, a strategic advisor and organizer in the regenerative agriculture movement. Calla Rose has been instrumental in advancing Carbon Farming through California and other state, as well as the USDA NRCS. Join this session for a riveting discussion!

Note: Registration is limited to 15 participants.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Wednesday, Nov 18

Agenda

8:15 am 9:00 am

Breakfast Bytes with Karen, Mark, and Tasha

Brew some coffee, grab a bite and meet your fellow conference attendees. These sessions will be a landing place for your day including interactive discussions partially in small group breakouts that highlight events from the day before and the upcoming day and give yourself a chance to talk with participants.

Hosted by Karen Buhr, CARCD, and Mark Fenstemaker and Tasha Newman, Pacific Policy Group

9:30 am 10:30 am

Breakout Sessions

Watershed Health

Collaboratively Building Our Water Future

Panel — Using Land Trust Management Tools and Approaches in the World of California Water

  • Amy Campbell, Project Director, The Nature Conservancy
  • Tom Hicks, Attorney at Law, Tom Hicks Law
  • Taylor Jang, Stewardship Project Manager, Peninsula Open Space Trust
  • Sara Press, Land Acquisition Program Manager, Sonoma Land Trust
  • Preston Harris, Executive Director, Scott River Water Trust

Entities such as RCDs are increasingly working with local stakeholders on developing strategies that help water right holders with balancing the water needs of their farming operations or local water supplies with increasing pressures to restore and protect California’s aquatic habitats. These strategies not only address water supply insecurity for people in a changing climate but also work to restore functionality back to California’s streams and rivers. This panel will highlight examples of how land protection and management entities are evaluating opportunities to maximize the benefit of water assets and how traditional land management tools are being applied to protect and manage water assets in partnership with landowners.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Habitat & Wildlife Conservation

Connecting Habitats, Protecting Wildlife

Connectivity on the Willits Bypass Mitigation Lands

  • Christopher Bartow, Project Manager, Mendocino County RCD
  • Robert Kunicki, Assistant Project Manager, Mendocino County RCD
  • Jacob Stubberfield, Project Technician, Mendocino County RCD
  • Marisela De Santa Anna, Project Interpreter, Mendocino County RCD

Connectivity on the Willits Bypass Mitigation lands describes our challenges to balance livestock grazing on a working landscape with unobstructed movement of wildlife. This presentation will highlight the solutions MCRCD and its partners have implemented on public lands to balance conservation based livestock grazing and wildlife needs.

The Central Valley Joint Venture 2020 Implementation Plan

  • James Cogswell, Central Valley Joint Venture Coordinator, US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Greg Yarris, Central Valley Joint Venture Science Coordinator, US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Lily Douglas, Central Valley Joint Venture Assistant Coordinator, US Fish and Wildlife Service

The Central Valley Joint Venture (CVJV) is a self-directed coalition consisting of 19 public and private organizations, who work collaboratively to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands and associated habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds, waterbirds, riparian songbirds and grassland birds. We’ll introduce participants to the Migratory Bird Joint Venture program and present our updated Implementation Plan, which uses the best available science to establish habitat, population, and in some cases, breeding density objectives for focal bird species in the Central Valley.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Fire Protection & Forestry

Sequestering Carbon, One Tree at a Time

One Tree Planted: Making an Impact in California

  • Stephanie Rochemont, Senior Project Manager, One Tree Planted
  • Lauren Dalmatoff, T.R.E.E.S. School Program Coordinator, One Tree Planted
  • Mark Egbert, District Manager, El Dorado and Georgetown Divide RCDs

One Tree Planted is a 501C3 non-profit environmental charity with a focus on global reforestation. We have supported the plantings of more than 1 million trees with RCD’s over the past three years. This year we are looking to plant as many as needed.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

 

11:00 am 12:00 pm

Breakout Sessions

Fire Protection & Forestry

Planning Forest Treatments on a Landscape-Scale

Panel — Integrated Solutions for Planning Forest Treatments at a Landscape-Scale

  • Tania Treis, Principal, Panorama Environmental, Inc.
  • Scott Conway, Principal, Forest Ecologist Conway Conservation Group
  • Ayme Ostie, Chief Executive Officer, 34North
  • Thomas Buchholz, Senior Scientist, Spatial Informatics Group

Since 1972, the annual burned area in California from wildfires has increased more than fivefold, with the most destructive fires in the state’s history occuring in the last four years. Vegetation management is a key tool to addressing and attempting to reduce hazards, but resources are limited. This 60-minute panel will present a unique consulting approach from a consortium of experts who can provide a full suite of integrated solutions to go from a landscape under consideration to specific, tailored, and prioritized vegetation management projects based on proven modeling methods. Panelists will describe the process and methods, particularly as they apply across multiple landowners working in partnership over a region. Panelists will also describe how the approach is integrated with feedback from environmental specialists to create permittable projects under environmental laws and how to utilize and manage the large amounts of data involved in these processes. Finally, panelists will describe an idea and example of funding though environmental benefits accounting that could allow the pace of forest treatments to increase.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Watershed Health

Partnering with Tribal Communities to Steward North Coast Watersheds

  • Chuck Striplen, Environmental Scientist, State Water Resources Control Board
  • Deborah Edelman, Senior Project Manager, Mendocino County RCD
  • Anecita Agustinez, Tribal Policy Advisor, Department of Water Resources

Moderated conversation with Deborah Edelman (Mendocino County RCD) and Anecita Agustinez (DWR) by Dr. Chuck Striplen.

Discussion Topics will include: Working with Tribal governments in CA; environmental justice; traditional ecological knowledge; fire, fish, and water resource management.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Habitat & Wildlife Conservation

See Southern California from Your Sofa: Pollinators, Milkweed, and Sustainable Agriculture

Engagement for Conservation: Placemaking, Pollinator Fun, and Fixing Food Systems

  • Diana Ruiz, Public Affairs Manager, Riverside-Corona RCD

Pollinator conservation goes hand-in-hand with community collaboration. Learn about a variety of ways that natural resource conservation is realized through innovative partnerships.

Growing in Partnership: Creating a Local, Native Milkweed Source in San Diego

  • Ann Baldridge, Community Programs Director, RCD Greater San Diego County
  • Jonathan Snapp-Cook, Partners for Fish & Wildlife Biologist, US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Mary Duffy, Outreach Director and Biologist, Earth Discovery Institute

The RCD of Greater San Diego County is a founding member of the San Diego Pollinator Alliance (SDPA), a network of organizations working together to increase pollinator habitat and awareness about pollinator-friendly practices. Creating a local source of native milkweed seed has been a long-standing goal of the SDPA, and we were able to begin this project in fall of 2019. From seed collection to propagation, this project relies on collaboration and this presentation will give an overview of our progress so far.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Coffee Chat

Coffee Chat with Angie Avery, Executive Officer of Sierra Nevada Conservancy

Grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and have an intimate conversation with Angie Avery, Executive Officer of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy

Note: Registration is limited to 15 participants.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

12:30 pm 2:00 pm

The Future of Conservation on Farmlands Starts Here, featuring Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross

Keynote Speaker: Karen Ross, Secretary of Agriculture

Panel: The Future of Conservation in Farmlands Starts Here

  • Karen Ross, Secretary of Agriculture, California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • Carlos Suarez, State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • David Shabazian, Director of Conservation, California Department of Conservation
  • Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Assemblymember, California Legislature, 4th District

In this panel discussion the leaders of conservation and Agriculture will discuss the opportunities and challenges to a resilient farm landscape in California. They will discuss the importance of the “whole farm system” and the particular challenges of COVID-19 to farmers and farm workers. Included in the discussion will be the importance of local modeling, conservation, technical support and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

2:30 pm 3:30 pm

Breakout Sessions

Watershed Health

Wading into Groundwater Recharge: RCDs' Role in SGMA Recharge Planning and Implementation

  • Erin McCarthy, RCD of Santa Cruz
  • Kelly Huff, District Manager, Dixon RCD
  • Thomas Flinn, Vice President, North San Joaquin Water Conservation District
  • Daniel Mountjoy, Director of Resource Stewardship, Sustainable Conservation
  • Matt Hurley, Executive Director, Tranquility RCD

The panel will highlight the work of several RCDs that have been active in Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) development and how RCDs can get involved in groundwater recharge as a GSP implementation strategy. The goal is to discuss strategies that other RCDs can use to get involved in the next round of GSPs and/or contribute to the development and implementation of GSP projects and management actions that demonstrate multiple resource and social benefits.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Working Lands

Agencies Making a Difference for Climate and Watersheds

Supporting Agriculture and Sustainability with Alternative Manure Management

  • Alyssa Louie, Senior Environmental Scientist, California Department of Food and Agriculture

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Alternative Manure Management Program provides financial assistance for the implementation of non-digester manure management practices on California dairy and livestock operations that result in long-term methane emissions reductions and maximize environmental benefits. Program updates on awarded projects, how the program has continued working remotely, and technical assistance outreach activity and outcomes.

NRCS Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention

  • Greg Norris, State Conservation Engineer, Natural Resources Conservation Service

The NRCS Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention program is available to address resource concerns at the watershed level. The program has had a long history in California with over 30 watershed projects approved over the last 60 years.

Riparian Restoration on Agricultural Lands Grant Funding

  • David Dodds, Grants and Program Development Manager, California Department of Conservation

In 2021, the Department of Conservation will have up to $6.5 million for riparian corridor restoration and conservation projects grants. The presentation will discuss examples of previously awarded projects and program guidelines for 2021.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Fire Protection & Forestry

Traditional Environmental Knowledge

  • Dr. Frank Lake, Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service
  • Professor Don Hankins, Professor of Geography and Planning, California State University, Chico

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Coffee Chat

Coffee Chat with Sam Schuchat, California State Coastal Conservancy

Grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and have an intimate conversation with the Executive Officer of the California State Coastal Conservancy.

Note: Registration is limited to 15 participants.

Recording is not available for this session.

4:00 pm 5:00 pm

Social Hours

Make new connections, say hi to old friends, and mingle with conservation professionals from the comfort of your home or office! This session will bring together professionals in three fields: working lands, watershed, and forestry professionals.

Thursday, Nov 19

Agenda

8:15 am 9:00 am

Breakfast Bytes with Karen and Chris

Brew some coffee, grab a bite and meet your fellow conference attendees. These sessions will be a landing place for your day including interactive discussions partially in small group breakouts that highlight events from the day before and the upcoming day and give yourself a chance to talk with participants.

Hosted by Karen Buhr, CARCD, and Chris Lim, Contra Costa RCD

9:30 am 10:30 am

Breakout Sessions

Habitat & Wildlife Conservation

A Win-Win-Win: Pollinator Habitat Bolsters Wildlife and Working Lands

Pollinator Habitat Establishment with Pheasants Forever

  • Charlie Holtz, Conservation Specialist, Pheasants Forever
  • David Gutierrez, Western Regional Representative, Pheasants Forever

High diversity seed mixes dominated by wildflowers have unique challenges with establishment. Learn what to expect, the best practices to ensure the highest probability for success, and how to manage cooperator expectations and overall satisfaction.

Cover Crops: The Link Between Better Pollination, Healthier Bees and Soil

  • Billy Synk, Director of Pollination Programs, Project apis m.

Many growers are using cover crops to correct soil issues like compaction and inadequate amounts of organic matter. Addressing these issue, while simultaneously supporting pollinators nutritional needs can be accomplished with the right seed mixes and management plans. This presentation will briefly cover the role that cover crops play in pollinator health and strategies for integrating these practices into your farm or orchard.

Starting a Large-Scale Monarch Habitat on a Sierra Cattle Ranch

  • Heather Bernikoff, Volunteer Land Owner, Mariposa RCD

Walappu’ ‘Uuchuthuu (Butterfly Home Place) is a project of the Mariposa RCD in partnership with a private land owner. The talk will focus primarily on the establishment of monarch habitat on an active cattle ranch, the lessons learned and future objectives. The presenter will also briefly discuss other non-habitat aspects of the project, such as community education and off-ranch habitat expansion activities.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Fire Protection & Forestry

Building Wildfire Resilience One Community at a Time

Building Wildfire Resilience in Trinity County

  • Azalie Welsh, Forest Health Program Manager, Trinity County RCD
  • Kelly Sheen, District Manager, Trinity County RCD

The Trinity County Resource Conservation District’s Forest Health Department has actively worked to increase the county’s wildfire resilience since 1998. Through collaborative planning efforts, on-the-ground implementation done by full-time seasonal TCRCD field crews, and fire-related community education, the TCRCD continuously strives to create fire-resilient ecosystems and communities in this high fire risk region of Northern California. This talk will give a brief overview of TCRCD’s fuel reduction efforts and how we work with partners and the public to design and execute fire effects mitigation projects across Trinity County.

Wildfire Community Preparedness Assessment

  • Ryan Tompkins, Forestry & Natural Resources Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension
  • Tracy Schohr, Livestock & Natural Resources Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

California wildfires continue to burn more acres each year resulting in evacuations of communities in the wildland urban interface, threatening homes and businesses. The University of California Cooperative Extension surveyed residents in northeastern California to understand how residents and communities are preparing for wildfire. The survey included questions on topics on home hardening, defensible space, and fire emergency and evacuation preparedness. We will share our initial results on what steps residents are taking to prepare for wildfire, perceived barriers, and areas where we can assist rural communities with high fire risk.

Increasing Forest Stewardship through Landowner Education and Engagement

  • Susie Kocher, UC Cooperative Extension
  • Kim Ingram, Forest Stewardship Education Coordinator, UC Cooperative Extension

The Forest Stewardship Education Initiative, hosted by the University of California Cooperative Extension, funded by Cal Fire, and with cooperation of local RCDs, is a workshop series providing education and skills needed by landowners to draft sections of the California Cooperative Forest Management Plan (CCFMP). Participants interact with resource professionals, learn about cost-share opportunities and are eligible for a free, initial site visit with an RPF, moving them one step closer to actual implementation of their plan.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Watershed Health

Nature-Based Stormwater Management for Cleaner, Safer Communities

Stormwater Projects and Eduction at Disadvantaged Schools in Mendocino County

  • Linda MacElwee, Watershed Coordinator, Mendocino County RCD
  • Deborah Edelman, Senior Project Manager, Mendocino County RCD

Between 2016 and 2019, MCRCD developed stormwater projects at three disadvantaged schools in Mendocino County through the State Water Board’s Drought Response and Outreach Program for Schools (DROPS). Collectively, the projects capture and clean 6.2 million gallons of stormwater per year. In addition, the projects included curricular tie-ins and educational opportunities for students, such as water quality data collection and peer-to-peer education. Both projects were recognized in a state-wide study of the DROPS grant program done by the University of Southern California as clear outliers with substantially greater benefit returns than other projects with similar funding and the Anderson Valley projects were rated among the top four projects statewide in terms of return on investment.

Twain Harte Community Stormwater Enhancement Project

  • Lindsay Mattos, Tuolumne County RCD
  • Regina Hirsch, Executive Director, Watershed Progressive

The Twain Harte Community Stormwater Enhancement Project is a collaborative effort to plan for and implement hydrologically-connected stormwater treatments that will provide a systematic, integrated approach to addressing the issues of water quality, water supply, flood control, environmental quality, and hydromodification. The Project is the first in the Region to use a multi parcel approach to utilizing stormwater at a community scale. Project implementation will include nature-based low impact development (LID) treatments, like vegetated bioswales and permeable pavement, in an effort to work towards reestablishing the natural hydrograph. These treatments will work synergistically with improvements to the local storm drain infrastructure to not only reduce local flooding impacts, but also protect and improve water quality in Twain Harte Creek. The project will provide education on watershed health and landowner stewardship and include the opportunity for local volunteers to receive training while helping to install rainwater, irrigation, and native landscaping during project implementation.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Coffee Chat

Coffee Chat with Chief Thom Porter of Cal Fire

Grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and have an intimate conversation with Chief Thom Porter, Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Note: Registration is limited to 15 participants.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

11:00 am 12:30 pm

Breakout Sessions

Education and Engagement

Strategies for Authentic, Inclusive, and Effective Environmental Education

Exploring Culturally Relevant Education and Restoration on Agricultural Lands

  • Alba Estrada López, STRAW Conservation Educator, Point Blue Conservation Science
  • Isaiah Thalmayer, STRAW Restoration Director, Point Blue Conservation Science
  • John Parodi, STRAW Senior Project Manager, Point Blue Conservation Science

As the climate changes, the process of climate smart restoration is rooted in preparing our landscapes for climate impacts through increasing ecological redundancy and genetic diversity, and building resilience through involving communities. Point Blue Conservation Science’s STRAW program (Students & Teachers Restoring A Watershed) implements community-based restoration, as the engagement and investment of our students and their families is pivotal to the success of our restoration projects. We’ll explore with you multiple projects on agricultural lands in partnership with various Resource Conservation Districts that combine inclusive and authentic community involvement and investment with the benefits of practices that enhance carbon sequestration, water quality, wildlife and agricultural productivity on working lands.

Evaluating Environmental Education Outcomes, Audience, and Design

  • Eric McKee, Education Program Coordinator, Napa County RCD

During this presentation we will breakdown how we collected data on our students and ourselves to understand the outcomes of a year-long environmental education program. Through this process we were able to see students how students perceive environmental issues, science, restoration, and careers, and how we can adapt for better outcomes.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Working Lands

California's Soil Health Regeneration

Cover Crop In California

  • Guihua Chen, Senior Environmental Scientist, California Department of Food and Agriculture

Because of its Mediterranean climate and diverse cropping systems, cover crop in California is not as popular as in other states in the past decades. Since 2017, cover crop has been the second most popular practice funded through the state Healthy Soils Program. This presentation will provide an update on cover crop implementation in California.

Establishing a Local Source of Compost for Agriculture in San Mateo County

  • Kasey Butler, San Mateo RCD

One of the largest barriers to increasing compost use in San Mateo County is access to locally relevant (high quality, reasonably priced, and locally available) compost. San Mateo RCD started working to develop a local source of compost a few years ago, and since then, have started a waste reduction program area which has included conducting a feasibility study, working with equestrian and livestock facilities, educating youth, running trials, and partnering with the county in their efforts to meet the State’s organics diversion goals.

Can you CIG it?

  • Jeff Borum, Soil Health Conservationist, East Stanislaus RCD

Two CIG projects from East Stan RCD–one past, one present–collide in a crescendo of collaboration, a.k.a. a description of the 2016 NRCS compost field trials on rangelands and how that project helped lead to an interim practice standard, assisting USGS with carbon economics, among many other exciting happenings along the way; as well as an overview of ESRCD’s new national CIG project, Soil Health Management Systems on Orchards in the Central Valley, which includes awesome stuff such as soil moisture sensors, equipment and technical assistance, ag economic evaluations, and incentive payments for producers. We aim for this to be a shared learning experience, but there is a high probability that jeff will talk A LOT 😉 hope to see y’all then!

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Fire Protection & Forestry

More Than A Village: Forging Working Partnerships to Build Forest Health and Create Fire Resiliency

Panel — Value of Partnerships in Capacity Building for Forest Health and Fire Resiliency Programs

  • Sheena Sidhu, Conservation Program Manager, San Mateo RCD
  • Jamie Tuitele-Lewis, Forest Health Coordinator, RCD of Monterey County
  • Hannah Ormshaw, Natural Resource Manager, San Mateo County Parks
  • Devii Rao, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension
  • Jim Thorne, Research Scientist, UC Davis Dept. of Environmental Science and Policy
  • Wolfy Rougle, Forest Health Watershed Coordinator, Butte County RCD

Engaging panel discussion focusing on developing and fostering valuable partnerships in early capacity building of forest health and fire resiliency programs. Panelist participants are RCD staff from San Mateo, Monterey, and Butte Counties and their respective partners from county parks, UC Cooperative Extension, and UC Davis. We will discuss program developments and partner strategy related to forest health projects and community partnerships, developing a prescribed burn association, and integrating climate science into reforestation.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Coffee Chat

Coffee Chat with CARCD legislative consultants, Pacific Policy Group

Grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and have an intimate conversation with Pacific Policy Group’s Principals Mark Fernesmaker and Tasha Newman. They are CARCD’s legislative lobbyists and RCD’s champions at the capitol.

Note: Registration is limited to 15 RCD Members.

Recording is not available for this session

1:00 pm 2:30 pm

The Future of Water Resiliency Starts Here

  • Ellen Hanak, Vice president and Director of the Water Policy Center, Public Policy Institute of California
  • Don Cameron, VP / General Manager, Terra-Nova Farms
  • Dr. Daniel Mountjoy, Director of Resource Stewardship, Sustainable Conservation
  • Laurel Angell, Manager, Madera/Chowchilla RCD

In this panel discussion, experts will discuss the opportunities and challenges to a resilient groundwater supply in California. Using the Central Valley as a case study, the panel will discuss the opportunities presented by recharge, multi-benefit approaches, local political structures, and RCDs as part of the solution. Informative if you are in the Central Valley, an opportunity to see the future if you are in other basins.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

3:00 pm 4:00 pm

Breakout Sessions

Habitat & Wildlife Conservation

Opening Doors: Rural Broadband and Conservation Opportunities

  • Jean Rice, National Telecommunications and Information Administration
  • Robert Tse, USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities Service
  • Sokwoo Rhee, Associate Director for Cyber-Physical Systems Innovation, National Institute of Standards and Technology

The dialogue will encompass how conservation issues from climate change impact, water management, working lands and health impact are inherently a part of the Smart Agriculture and Rural SuperCluster. This is also an opportunity to expand collaboration and multi-stakeholder engagement with SuperCluster members and for the SuperCluster to directly engage with Resource Conservation Districts members.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) established the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) for communities across the world to use as collaboration platform in their pursuit of deploying Internet of Things (IoT) and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) to improve the quality of life for residents. The GCTC’s overarching goals are to enable standardization and interoperability for these IoT and CPS, and to make them scalable and replicable for the widest possible use. The Smart Agriculture and Rural SuperCluster is part of this GCTC effort.  The SuperCluster is a uniquely collaborative body consisting of federal agencies, universities, private sector, associations, businesses and individuals.  It is also uniquely collaborative across subject matter expertise of technology, broadband, agriculture, equity and geography.  This SuperCluster is focused on creating a framework on how digital technology and rural broadband infrastructure will inform agriculture and rural initiatives.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Education and Engagement

From Where We Stand: Teaching Students Sustainable Agriculture and Local Ecosystems Fundamentals

The Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS) Program

  • Eva Dwyer, SLEWS Program Coordinator, Center for Land-Based Learning

The Center for Land Based-Learning’s SLEWS Program engages high school students in habitat restoration through a series of hands-on field days at real projects that develop science skills and environmental stewardship in youth. Our restoration and project partners (often RCDs) are an invaluable resource for designing and managing habitat projects, giving us the opportunity to provide transformative educational opportunities. The SLEWS Program prioritizes building relationships with students throughout the year to meet our goal of seeding the environmental field with young leaders from diverse communities, and completing projects that positively impact local watersheds.

Place-based Phenomena: Supporting Teachers Through Distance Learning

  • Kelly Kazmirchuk, Education Program Coordinator, RCD of the Santa Monica Mountains

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are phenomena driven and teachers are always looking for local phenomena. The new standards give RCDs the perfect opportunity to offer place-based lessons to schools. This workshop will show examples of how the RCDSMM supports environmental literacy in schools by helping students connect to place and by sharing field projects that scientists are leading. Students learn about current projects and how they benefit the community. Find out how RCDSMM is leading these lessons and how you can do the same. The talk will cover different tools used when leading distance learning.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Fire Protection & Forestry

From the Forest to the Trees: New Planning Tools and Approaches for Forest and Watershed Management

Panel — New Strategies for Healthy Watersheds: Using Planning Tools and Data to Facilitate Collaborative Planning, Design and Implementation

  • Holly Jorgensen, Executive Director, Sacramento River Watershed Program
  • Amye Osti, Chief Executive Officer, 34 North
  • Todd Sloat, Project Manager, Pit River RCD
  • Scott Conway, Principal Forest Ecologist, Conway Conservation Group

Roughly one third of California is forested, including the majority of the watersheds that serve as the key originating water source for millions of people across the state. Overstocked, unhealthy forests are highly vulnerable to catastrophic fire and susceptible to insects and disease, which directly threatens our fish, wildlife and watersheds. Groups of stakeholders are taking on large-scale project planning in an effort to reduce risk to our communities and forested landscapes.

This panel will look at established collaborative groups and how they are succeeding and struggling with landscape level planning and project development. The speakers will discuss whether planning tools and data help facilitate these efforts and explore the potential of a project-planning formula to increase the pace and scale of forest and watershed improvements, build on economies of scale, and improve results for the State.

Recording is not available for this session

4:30 pm 5:30 pm

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Social Hour

Social networking hour for BIPOC conservationists! We intend to create a safe, open, and fun space for our BIPOC peers to come together, share, and connect across the conservation community. Join us for Thursday afternoon!

Friday, Nov 20

Agenda

8:15 am 9:00 am

Breakfast Bytes with Karen and Kellyx

Brew some coffee, grab a bite and meet your fellow conference attendees. These sessions will be a landing place for your day including interactive discussions partially in small group breakouts that highlight events from the day before and the upcoming day and give yourself a chance to talk with participants.

Hosted by Karen Buhr, CARCD, and  Kellyx Nelson, San Mateo RCD

9:30 am 11:00 am

The Future of Local Action on Working Lands Starts Here

Panel: The Future of Local Action on Working Lands Starts Here

  • Jeff Borum, Soil Health Coordinator, East Stanislaus RCD
  • Dr. Chandra Richards, Conservation Ecologist
  • Sara Tiffany, Director of Ecological Farming, California Alliance of Family Farmers
  • Jesse Smith, Director of Land Stewardship, White Buffalo Land Trust
  • Heather Podoll, Partnership and Advocacy Coordinator, Fibershed

Hear from conservation leaders working on the ground to support farmers and ranchers in protecting watersheds, soils, and working lands.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

11:30am 12:30 pm

Breakout Session

Education and Engagement

K-12 Watershed Education Programs Go Virtual

Solano RCD New Digital Environmental Education Program

  • Marianne Butler, Education Director, Solano RCD
  • Allison Martin, Program Manager, Solano RCD

Covid-19 brought both challenge and opportunity to find new ways of delivering Solano RCDs award-winning outdoor water education programs to K-12 students. This presentation examines the process of reinterpreting our programming into a live-steam, on-line format to continue to provide meaningful access to environmental education to multiple grade levels.

Virtual Community Engagement for Groundwater Sustainability Planning through K-12 Education

  • Allison Martin, Education Program, Manager Solano RCD
  • Jacqueline Garcia, Community Outreach Associate, The Freshwater Trust

The Freshwater Trust  partnered with Solano RCD to develop distance learning and engagement strategies with K-12 students to increase groundwater awareness, build capacity for future generations to be stewards of their water resources, and inform students and their families about ways to participate in local groundwater planning efforts in the Solano Subbasin. The team will share their curriculum and tools to shift from in-person community education to distance learning during COVID-19 for SGMA outreach.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Habitat & Wildlife Conservation

Cutting Green Tape: Increasing the Pace and Scale of Restoration in California

  • Kellyx Nelson, Executive Director, San Mateo RCD
  • Jennifer Norris, Deputy Secretary of Biodiversity and Habitat, California Natural Resources Agency
  • Erika Lovejoy, Director – Accelerating Restoration, Sustainable Conservation

The Cutting Green Tape initiative seeks to create transformative and durable systems change that removes persistent barriers to restoring, enhancing, and preserving our natural resources and ecological systems. Its goal is to create permitting and regulatory efficiencies while maintaining commitments to environmental safeguards and allowing state agencies to meet statutory requirements while more easily permitting efforts that build resilience.

The initiative, spearheaded by the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Landscape Stewardship Network, convened over 150 agency staff, NGOs, tribes, public and private landowners, and other stakeholders to create specific recommendations to increase permitting effectiveness, expedite project review and approval, improve cross-jurisdictional collaboration, and more.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Fire Protection & Forestry

Invasives Update: New and Emergent Pests in Forests and Grasslands

New and Emerging Pests in California

  • Dr. Andrea Hefty Entomologist, Forest Health Protection Forest Service, USDA

This presentation will give a summary of the current status of new and emerging invasive insects affecting CA’s oaks and the role of firewood in their long-distance movement and potential spread across the state.

Prescribed Goat Grazing for Wildland Management

  • Alyssa Cope, Principal and Restoration Ecologist, Sage Environmental Group

Prescribed grazing involves targeting undesired plants for removal while preventing overgrazing through close monitoring and adaptive management. Sage Environmental Group (Sage) owns an in-house herd of goats used to suppress invasive plants and remove fire fuel load. Herd ownership is unique for an environmental planning firm and an advantage to land managers who can rely on grazing activities that are planned and implemented from a scientific and regulatory compliance perspective in accordance with local conservation plans.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

1:00 pm 2:00 pm

Breakout Sessions

Education and Engagement

Keep Calm and Carry On: Staying Connected and Making an Impact During Shelter in Place

Won’t You Be a Neighbor? Educating and Engaging with the Public During COVID-19

  • Crystal Valenzuela, Community Engagement Specialist, Inland Empire RCD

Remember that you are charismatic and, of course, resourceful! You CAN design conservation focused socially distanced or virtual events to connect with the residents in your service area. Join this presentation to find out how!

Smells like TEAM spirit!

  • Jasmine Clark, Education Coordinator, Inland Empire RCD

Continuing team rapport and connectivity via long distance methodsDuring these uncertain times, it is nice to see familiar faces and continue to share ideas with team members. You can host themed meetings via Zoom to continue your routine of having team meetings. Continue to join forces and make working from home more enjoyable!Increasing Visibility Through Social Media

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

Fire Protection & Forestry

Forests in Flux: Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on the Sierra Nevada

Hydrologic Vulnerability to Climate Change in the Sierra Nevada

  • Safeeq Khan, Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Water and Watershed Sciences
  • Weichao Guo, Postdoctoral Research Scholar, UC Merced

Climate change is altering the mountain water cycle through a variety of intertwined and complex processes in the climate-water-land nexus. In this presentation I will be discussing the hydrologic feedback between changes in radiative forcing and atmospheric CO2 in the Sierra Nevada. Implications of future climate and atmospheric CO2 on the terrestrial carbon cycle in the Sierra Nevada will also be discussed.

Evaluating the Effects of Forest Fuel Treatments on Forest Health and Streamflow

  • Safeeq Khan, Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Water and Watershed Sciences
  • Ryan Bart Assistant Project Scientist, UC Merced

Water made available from forest fuel treatments is often partitioned to two benefits, forest health and streamflow production. In this presentation, we show that fuel treatments may not provide full hydrologic benefits to both at the same time and we explore the conditions that favor one benefit compared to the other.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

2:30 pm 3:15 pm

High School Speak-Off Competition

The 2020 Speak-Off topic: How should Resource Conservation Districts serve and engage the entire community in conservation work?

The CARCD Conservation Education Speak-Off is an annual competition designed to help California high school students learn about natural resource issues in their area, build public speaking skills and confidence, and enable conservation practitioners to hear from youth about issues that matter most to them.

With the support of their local RCDs, students compete first at a county level and then regionally for a chance to participate in the final speak-off round at the Annual CARCD Conference in November. Winners and runners-up receive cash awards for their time and effort. Travel to and from these events for the student and chaperone is paid for by their RCD. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three competitors: $300 for first place, $200 for second place, and $100 for third place.

Click here for the recording (accessible to attendees only)

3:30 pm 4:30 pm

End of Conference Celebration