“Celebrating Resilient Landscapes and Adaptive Communities” at CARCD’s 73rd Annual Conference


The California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) continued the tradition of bringing together the conservation community from around the state at the 73rd Annual CARCD Conference in San Diego from November 14-17, 2018.

Thank you to the more than 250 attendees, speakers, partners, and sponsors who helped make our 73rd Annual CARCD Conference an outstanding event! This year in San Diego, participants explored and celebrated the strategies, programs, and partnerships that are helping to cultivate thriving landscapes and adaptable communities throughout California.

On Wednesday, November 14, Resource Conservation District (RCD) staff and board members took part in RCD Capacity Day. This was a free day of capacity building sessions and trainings tailored specifically to meet the unique needs of California’s RCDs. Topics were focused on Communications, Revenue Development, and Board Leadership and were facilitated by Solid Ground Consulting.

The Opening Session on Thursday began with a welcome by Deanna Spehn, Policy Director for Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, District 39 of the California State Senate, and from Karen Buhr and Don Butz, Executive Director and Board Vice President (respectively) of CARCD. Claire Jahns, Assistant Secretary for Natural Resources Climate Issues at California Natural Resources Agency, presented on California’s Solutions: Aggregating California’s Impacts and the Climate Action Plan. Kevin Watt of TomKat Ranch moderated a panel on Making Change: Opportunities for Resiliency in California’s Complex Landscape. Louise Bedsworth, Executive Director of the Strategic Growth Council discussed Solutions Without Boundaries: Bringing Together Perspectives to Create Community Changes. Kellyx Nelson, Executive Director of the San Mateo RCD presented and led a panel focused on Expanding Programs to Encompass the Whole Community, and keynote speaker John de Graaf spoke about Igniting the Heart of Your Community: Action Through Inspiration.

Thursday and Friday were filled with breakout sessions, beachside chats, networking opportunities, and good food, along with opportunities to recognize longstanding partnerships and the outstanding achievements of individuals and organizations in California’s diverse conservation community.

With a focus on “Celebrating Resilient Landscapes and Adaptive Communities,” climate adaptation was a major theme at this conference. While most of the work that RCDs do can be tied back to climate adaptation—ranging from watershed quality and quantity to urban agriculture—it was incredibly inspiring to hear about work that RCDs are doing directly around mitigating climate change through soil carbon sequestration.

Attendees heard from ranchers who are imagining  to incorporate compost, cover crops, and hedgerows on their land, practices that increase soil organic matter and sequester carbon in the soil. RCDs are collaborating with partners and landowners to design carbon farm plans, and the RCD of Greater San Diego County shared about their carbon farming demonstration plot. Technical assistance providers are delivering evidence based information on how landowners can use practices that are best suited to them. Lastly, we heard from state agencies on how they are working toward finding climate adaptive solutions on a statewide scale. The following are a small sample of some of the presentations that were given at this years conference (and please check back soon, as many of these presentations will be made available online):

  • Ian Howell (Alameda County RCD) & Kyle Marsh (Point Blue Conservation Service) – “Alameda County Rangeland Resilience Pilot Project: Restoring Upland Water Resources to Improve Habitat and Grazing Operations”
  • Kent Reeves & John Austel (Rancher to Rancher) – “Rancher to Rancher, A Network for Ranchers: 4J Horse & Livestock Company on the Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve – An Example from San Diego County”
  • Linda Gibbs (Kiss the Ground)-  “Lowering CO2 Levels to Pre-Industrial Age”
  • Kevin Watt (TomKat Ranch) – “Profiles of Regenerative Ranching Success”
  • Pelayo Alvarez (Carbon Cycling Institute) – The Carbon Farming Network: Building Local Partnerships with RCDs for Climate Change Mitigation
  • Chandra Richards (RCD of Greater San Diego County) – “Carbon Farming in San Diego County”
  • Brian Shobe (California Climate Agriculture Network) – “Delivering Climate Smart Ag Technical Assistance: Lessons Learned
  • Claire Jahns (California Natural Resources Agency) – “California’s Solutions: Aggregating California’s Impacts and the Climate Action Plan”

The full agenda for the conference can be seen here which will have presentations uploaded by the end of December 2018. Join us next year for our 74th annual conference in Redding, CA!