Resource Conservation District of Monterey County (RCDMC)
The RCD of Monterey County (RCDMC) is one of the several Resource Conservation Districts in California's Central Coast Region. The RCDMC was established in 1942 with the mission to conserve and improve natural resources, integrating the demand for environmental quality with the needs of agricultural and urban users . They work together with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to assist landowners, growers and ranchers with technical aspects of their operations.
RCDMC is governed by a Board of Directors who are appointed by the county board of supervisors and represent a wide range of experience and interests. There are seven directors, the number of which can be changed by resolution adopted by a majority of the members. Directors serve four year terms and vacancies are filled by the board of supervisors from the pool of candidates who have filed an application as specified by Division 9 of the California Public Resources Code .
Funding and Support
Funding is supported through grants and contracts, and donations are accepted. The RCDMC shares office space with the NRCS in Salinas, CA. Furniture, equipment and software are available to RCDMC for free or reduced costs through programs that support federal, state and/or local government agencies and non-profit organizations.
RCDMC provides the following services to farmers, ranchers, landowners and the public through efforts in which they address conservation and land management in the region.
Natural Resource Management
- Soil stability and health
- Water quality management
- Water conservation
- Stream and pond management
- Livestock Areas
- Vegetation management
- Irrigation efficiency evaluations
- Nutrient management assessments
- Erosion control planning
- Biological monitoring
- Vegetation management and restoration
- Project permit assistance
- USDA financial and technical assistance
- Trainings and workshops (in both Spanish and English)
Programs and Projects
Current Programs and Projects
The RCDMC has several current (2019) programs and projects  that include many voluntary landowners and are achieved in partnership with other RCDs and organizations and agencies such as the NRCS, Monterey County Water Resources Agency, The Nature Conservancy, the Central Coast Wetlands Group, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Grower Shipper Association of the Central Coast. These projects demonstrate the RCDMCs function to conserve and improve natural resources, especially in consideration of production agriculture and environmental sustainability in the region. Over 160 farmers and land managers in Monterey County have voluntarily participated in RCDMC conservation and restoration programs .
- Salinas River Invasive Plant Control and Restoration Program   - Eradication of invasive, non-native plants, including arundo donax, along 90 miles of the Salinas River. As of 2019, RCDMC has successfully controlled of over 450 acres of previously infested areas and aims to complete the project by 2030 . Annual Reports on the Salinas Watershed Invasive Non-Native Plant Control Project are available for download from the RCDMC webpage.
- Salinas River Stream Maintenance Program - Flood prevention and stream riparian habitat improvement.
- Integrated Watershed Restoration Program - Addresses improvements to fish and wildlife habitat and water quality by facilitating and coordinating projects through technical and financial assistance since 2009. Several projects have been completed and even more are in the process of review or completion.
- Nutrient Management Cooperatives Development - Pilot cooperative program addressing multi-farm drainage runoff management, including water quality treatment wetlands and irrigation and nutrient management.
- Winter Preparedness Program - 20-year ongoing technical and financial assistance to growers on hilly landscapes to reduce soil erosion and non-point source pollution, resulting in an estimated 35% reduction in annual sedimentation load to Elkhorn Slough.
- Santa Rita Creek Watershed Project  - Integrated Regional Water Management Program grant to address irrigation management, nutrient management, and hillside farming erosion control in the Santa Rita Creek Watershed to reduce sedimentation, non-point source pollution, and improve water quality and riparian habitat.
- Wildlife Monitoring by Pathways for Wildlife  - A collaboration with the research organization, Pathways for Wildlife, to track wildlife use in habitat improvement projects in the Salinas River corridor using camera "traps".
- Fire Fuels Mitigation Coordination Program - Help implement the Monterey County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) by overseeing the planning and coordination work with staff, contractors, local partners and fire agencies. The ultimate goal of the CWPP and muti-agency partnership is to help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and improve forest health through strategic vegetation and fuel break management for public safety and environmental health. 
Past Programs and Projects
RCDMC has completed many other projects focused on resource conservation through collaboration with farmers and landowners in partnership with several other agencies and organizations. Some past projects are highlighted here:
- Elkhorn Slough Watershed Permit Coordination Program (1998-2007)- Included local, state and federal agencies with farmers and land owners in the Elkhorn Slough Watershed to address resource conservation projects on farms. RCD and NRCS assistance with the regulatory review and permitting process, as well as design and construction specifications for resource enhancing projects. From 1998-2003 the program supported 50 conservation projects with 96 conservation practices .
- Livestock and Land Program(2007-2012)- Addressed water quality and animal health through education, technical and financial assistance to livestock managers.
- Carmel River Watershed Coordination (2001-2014)- Established a Carmel River Watershed Coordinator to work with various stakeholders in prioritizing critical resource issues in the in the Carmel River Watershed. The coordinator re-established regular meetings of the Carmel River Task Force, created the Carmel River Watershed Stewardship Manual, and participated in the Carmel River Watershed Assessment and Action Plan.
- Prop 84 Agricultural Water Quality Grant Projects  (2013-2016)- Reduced nutrient loading into waterways and lowered fertilizer costs by helping Salinas Valley growers increase irrigation efficiency by 10%-40% and nutrient application efficiency up to 30% through technical assistance and projects.
For more past project descriptions and information see RCDMC past projects webpage.
Education and Outreach
RCDMC engages with the public to inform them of conservation-related issues in the region through a variety of ways, including:
- Trainings and Workshops - On-farm demonstrations and workshops that address a variety of conservation practices and resource management for landowners and farmers, including nutrient management, irrigation efficiency and erosion control. Available in English and Spanish.
- Range Camps - Summer camp in Half-Moon Bay for high school students to learn about rangeland and natural resource management from professional staff and university faculty.
- RCD "Speak-off" Competition - Conservation-themed speech contest for high school students with cash prizes and opportunities to advance to regional and state-level contests.
- Land Judging Contest - Hands-on soil science competition for high school students with opportunities to advance to regional, state and national Future Farmers of America-sponsored competitions.
- Volunteering and Internships - need-based positions for local college students to gain experience with conservation science, and community members to share their time and skills for RCDMC projects.
- RCDMC (Resource Conservation District, Monterey County) Homepage
- CaliforniaPublic Resources Code. 1975. DIVISION 9. RESOURCE CONSERVATION [9001 - 9972
- The Resource Conservation District Guidebook: A Guide to District Operations and Management. California Conservation Partnership and the California Department of Conservation. 1999
- California Natural Resources Agency. Bond Accountability. Project: Salinas River Riparian Enhancement. 2015
- California Environmental Quality Act. SCH Number 2011091078. 2019.
- The Californian. Hold back the tide: Cutting invasive grasses could mitigate Salinas River floods. Kate Cimini. Dec. 2018.
- Conservation Action Tracker. Santa Rita Creek Watershed Project (Resource Conservation District). 2016.
- Greater Monterey County Integrated Regional Water Management Program. Current Projects. 2012
- RCDMC Year in Review 2018
- Elkhorn Slough Watershed Permit Coordination Program. 2003 Implementation report. USDA, NRCS, RCD. 2003.
- California Department of Water Resources. Proposition 84, Chapter 2 Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Grant Program. 2019.
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