The California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) is proud to maintain a comprehensive library of documents and other materials to support all aspects of Resource Conservation District (RCD) operations.

On this page, RCD staff and directors can download the RCD Vision and Standards and access resources to help them meet legal requirements for operating as a special district in the State of California. Member districts can also log in to the Member Dashboard for additional content including templates, sample policies and plans, and proprietary resources that CARCD has developed to support RCD capacity building efforts.

A Statewide Pathway to Excellence in Service

CARCD worked with nearly 50 RCD Managers, many RCD directors, and numerous partners to publish a guiding document in 2015 that our network calls:

The RCD Vision & Standards (PDF)

The purpose of the Vision is to summarize key strategies for success, while providing an outline of common goals for all California RCDs. The Standards provide a roadmap of activities that successful RCDs engage in. They give concrete suggestions and provide criteria and examples to help RCDs achieve Relevancy, Excellence and Visibility. The Standards are separated into three Tiers:

TIER ONE: Outlines the legal requirements all RCDs must meet under current state law

TIER TWO: Provides ways RCDs can serve the needs of their communities for conservation today

TIER THREE: Outlines a comprehensive road map RCDs may follow into becoming the go-to hub of conservation in the future

Requirements for Tier One RCDs:

1. Annual Financial Transactions Report to the State Controller

Visit this website to access the forms and instructions for the annual financial transactions report that all special districts must submit to the state controller annually. Electronic reporting can be accessed from this page.

2. Annual Local Government Compensation Report

This website includes forms and instructions necessary for completing the annual local government compensation report.

3. Ethics Training

This website provides an online training to meet the AB1234 Ethics Training requirements. Click on the Local Officials Training Course towards the bottom of the page to start the training. Once directors and staff have completed the training module they must print a copy of the training certificate and keep it on file at the district office.

4. Form 700 Statement of Economic Interests

This website provides required forms and instructions for the Form 700 Statement of Economic Interests that must be completed by all RCD Directors and staff identified in the RCDs conflict of interest Code.

5. Independent Audit

Click here to see Special District Audit Regulations. RCDs are required to have an annual independent audit (with 2 or 5 year audit options possible if approved by the county Board of Supervisors). This is a link to the regulations associated with the annual audit requirement. Audits must be conducted by an independent auditor.

Special Note: In 2016 the legislature passed Assembly Bill 2613. Starting in 2017, this bill allows special districts with less than $150,000 who keep their funds with the county to conduct a financial review in place of the annual audit. The RCD would be required to ask for the county Board of Supervisors approval to replace the audit with a financial review. The financial review would be preformed by the county auditor. Additionally, districts would be required to conduct an annual audit at least once in a five year period.

6. Director's Oath of Office

Click here to see example Oath of Office language. The California Constitution requires that all state, county, and local government public officers (including RCD directors) take an oath of office. This is also required by Division 9 of the Public Resources Code. The link above is to the portion of the constitution that includes sample Oath of Office language. The oath of office should be administered at a public meeting or by the county (if required).

7. Brown Act Agenda Requirements

RCDs are subject to the Brown Act. The following summary is courtesy of the County of Sonoma: Basic Rule Except in certain limited circumstances, the Brown Act requires that all deliberative processes by legislative bodies, including discussion, debate and acquisition of information, be open and available for public scrutiny. (Sacramento Newspaper Guild v. Sacramento Co. Bd. Of Supervisors (1968) 263 Cal.App.2d 41.) What is a “Meeting” A meeting is any congregation of a majority of the members of the public body (e.g., 11 or more Task Force members) at the same time and place to hear, discuss <u>or</u> deliberate upon any item which is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the public body. What is a “Serial Meeting” The Brown Act prohibits serial meetings. A serial meeting is a series of communications, each of which involves less than a quorum of the legislative body, but which taken as a whole involves a majority of the body’s members. (Government Code Section 54952.2(b)) What is Not a Meeting The attendance of a majority of the members of a legislative body at a conference or other gathering open to the public that involves a discussion of issues of general interest to the public or to public agencies of the type represented by the legislative body, provided that a majority of the members do not discuss among themselves, other than as part of the scheduled program, business of a specified nature that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the local agency. 54952.2(c)(2)(3) and (4) The attendance of a majority of the members of a legislative body at a purely social or ceremonial occasion, provided that a majority of the members do not discuss among themselves business of a specific nature that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body of the local agency. (Government Code Section 54952.2(c)(5)) Meeting Requirements The Brown Act requires that an agenda for a regular meeting be posted at least 72 hours prior to the meeting and the agenda must contain a brief general description of each item to be transacted or discussed at the meeting. (Government Code Section 54954.2(a)) The purpose of the brief description is to inform interested members of the public about the subject matter under consideration so that the public can determine whether to monitor or participate in the meeting. Except under very limited circumstances, the Brown Act provides that no action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda. LIMITED EXCEPTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OF ITEM NOT ON AGENDA: Members of the public body, or its staff, may briefly respond to comments or questions from members of the public. Even without a comment from the public, members of the public body, or staff, may:

  • Ask for information, request a report back or to place a matter of business on the agenda for a subsequent meeting.
  • Ask a question for clarification;
  • Make a brief announcement; or
  • Briefly report on the member’s own activities. (Government Code Section 54954.2(a)(2))

The Public’s Rights While Attending a Meeting The public can attend a meeting without having to register or give other information. (Government Code Section 54953.3) Every agenda for a regular meeting must allow members of the public to speak on any item of interest, so long as the item is within the subject area of the legislative body. Further, the public must be allowed to speak on a specific item of business before or during the legislative body’s consideration. However, the public body can enact restrictions which limit the total amount of time of testimony on particular issues. (Government Code Section 54954.3) Penalties and Remedies for Violations of the Brown Act Criminal penalties may be imposed for certain violations including attendance by a member of a body at a meeting where action is take in violation of the Act and where the member intends to deprive the public of information. (Government Code Section 54959) Civil remedies also available including voiding any action taken in violation of the Brown Act. Attorneys’ fees may be awarded against the public body for violations. (Government Code Section 54960.5)

Sample RCD Board Meeting Agendas


8. Statement of Facts

Public Agencies (such as RCDs) are required to complete a Statement of Facts (form NP-SF 405) every time the RCD gets a new director or changes their address. 

Complete the form and mail it to: Secretary of State P.O. Box 942870 Sacramento, CA 94277-2870

9. Conflict of Interest Code Resources

RCDs are required to create a Conflict of Interest Code. RCDs contained in one county are required to submit their code to the county. RCDs in multiple counties must have their code approved by the FPPC. Codes must be reviewed every even numbered year.

10. Reimbursement Policy

State law requires local government agencies to adopt Expense Reimbursement policies to establish rules for reimbursement such as: what types of expenses are eligible for reimbursement, how long a director has to ask for reimbursement, rates, forms required, and more. Click here to see sample policies and information provided by the Institute for Local Government.

11. Nondiscrimination Policy

Employers are required to have nondiscrimination policies. As of 4-1-2016 Nondiscrimination polices in California must also add harassment and retaliation prevention sections. Policies must include specific information about what conduct is prohibited and provide a complaint procedure. Employers are also required to show they have provided such policies to employees and confirm receipt of the policy. It is important to have new employees sign a statement indicating they have received the policy.

12. Annual Plan

Sample Annual Plans:

13. Long Range Plan

Sample Long Range Plans:

14. Public Records Request Policy

The Public Records Request Act guarantees that any person may inspect any non-exempt public record, as specified. It also requires that all public records remain open for inspection at all times during an agency’s office hours. Click here to see the Local Government Records Management webpage.

15. Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

In 2016 the legislature passed AB 1661 which requires local government officials (including directors of special districts) to complete sexual harassment prevention training within 6 months of taking office and at least every 2 years.

16. SB 272 Enterprise Systems Catalog

SB 272 took effect on July 1, 2016. The bill requires all local governments including special districts such as Resource Conservation Districts to create a catalog of the software they use to create or store records and post it on their website. If the RCD does not have a website, a catalog of the software the RCD uses must still be available for anyone who asks for it.

17. Sexual Harassment Literature Provided to Employees

RCDs that have employees are required by law to provide all employees with sexual harassment literature when they are hired.  Please see Publication DFEH-ENG/April 2020.

18. Payroll Taxes Filed and Paid

RCDs with employees are not exempt from paying payroll taxes. Payroll taxes must be collected and filed just like all other employers. Below are some helpful links.

19. Reports and Information Provided to LAFCo (when requested)

Each county has a Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) that is responsible for special district boundary adjustments, consolidations, and more. They are required to conduct Municipal Service Reviews of local governments and from time to time they will request information from the RCD to assist with the completion of the Municipal Service Review. Visit the California Association of LAFCos for additional information and to find your local LAFCo.

20. Post All Legally Required Notices in Office

There are several notices that all employers in California are required to post. Notices cover topics such as minimum wage, discrimination and more. Below are links to agencies that provide these notices on their websites so employers can print them and post them in the office.

21. Sales Taxes to Board of Equalization

RCDs who sell tangible goods are required to obtain a Seller’s Permit from the State Board of Equalization. When goods are sold RCDs are required to collect sales tax on non-exempt items, complete sales tax returns, and send tax proceeds to the Board of Equalization. Please visit the State Board of Equalization website for current sales tax information.

22. Associate Director Policy

RCDs who have associate directors are required to adopt Associate Director Policies. Associate Director Policies help the RCD and Associate Directors define the roles of Associate Directors, establish procedures for appointing Associate Directors, and more.


San Mateo RCD – Associate Director Policy

RCD Santa Monica Mountains – Associate Director Policy


23. Bidding Policy

RCDs who solicit bids on contracts are required to adopt a bidding policy.

24. Fee for Services Policy


25. Investment Policy

Check back soon for examples of RCD investment policies.

26. Reserve Policy

Santa Monica Mountains RCD Reserve Policy

27. Volunteer Policies

Check back soon for examples of RCD volunteer policies.

28. Personnel Policies

Sample Employee Handbooks:

RCD of Monterey County Employee Handbook

CARCD Employee Handbook


29. Vehicle Use Policy

Check back soon for examples of RCD vehicle use policies.

Disclaimer: RCDs should have their legal counsel review any adopted policies for legality. Policies provided here are samples and RCDs must adopt policies according to the needs of their individual district.​