Application for LandSmart Carbon Farm Plan Now Available

As much as one-third of the surplus CO2 in the atmosphere driving climate change has resulted from land management practices on agricultural lands. Carbon farming, an array of strategies designed to promote long-term carbon sequestration, holds the potential to significantly reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases by capturing carbon in the soil and plant materials, while enhancing soil health and productivity.

The RCD and its LandSmart™ partners are developing carbon farm plans as an integral component of the comprehensive conservation plans developed through the LandSmart™ program. Carbon farm plans identify practices that allow agricultural operations to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These practices provide multiple benefits for climate change resiliency, by reducing atmospheric CO2 levels while improving soil health, water holding capacity, and crop and forage production. Carbon farming practices may also promote water conservation and reduce irrigation needs, which in turn may reduce stream withdrawals and enhance water quality and instream habitat. Finally, practices such as hedgerows and windbreaks work to both sequester CO2 while enhancing on-farm wildlife and pollinator habitat.

LandSmart Carbon Farm Plan applications are due on May 31. Please apply soon as the process is competitive. Contact Jason Hoorn at for more information.

LandSmart Carbon Farm Plan PDF fillable form

Funding for Small Scale Water Storage Projects through the Coho Partnership Program

Gold Ridge RCD, in collaboration with the Coho Partnership, is seeking eligible landowners for participation in a voluntary water storage program in Green Valley and Dutch Bill watersheds.

The primary goals of the Gold Ridge RCD's Water Reliability Program is to increase the amount of water flowing in our streams during the summer dry season and to assist landowners in developing more secure and reliable water supplies. We achieve these goals by partnering with landowners on projects that provide alternatives to drawing water from creeks and shallow, near-stream wells during the summer. Using stored water instead of creek water in the summer means that wildlife in the creeks have just a little bit more. The Gold Ridge RCD and the Coho Partnership have funding to assist landowners in reaches of stream where healthy salmon habitat is most critically needed--where salmon carry out some of the most sensitive parts of their lives, such as spawning and rearing their young.

Residents who source water from creeks and shallow, near-stream wells in the upper reaches of these creeks may be eligible for funds to design and construct water storage systems with the RCD. Storage systems include rainwater catchment, off-channel storage in tanks or ponds, and water use efficiency projects.

To find out if your home is in a reach of Green Valley or Dutch Bill Creek served in the Water Reliability Program, use the map links below.

Upper Green Valley Creek Map Green Valley Creek above the Atascadero confluence and its tributary Purrington Creek. Roads in this area are Green Valley Rd, Graton Rd, Bones Rd, Upp Rd.

Dutch Bill Creek Map Green Valley Creek above Tryone Bridge and its tributary Lancel Creek. Roads in this area are Bohemian Highway, Morelli Lane, Camp Meeker neighborhood, Hampton Rd, Heather Lane, Harrison Grade.

If your home or well is within or very near to the blue buffer zone, you may be eligible for assistance and funding.

Informational brochure to learn more about the program. Fill out an application to express your interest in participating in the program. Email or mail the filled application to or Gold Ridge RCD, 2776 Sullivan Rd, Sebastopol, CA 95472.

For more information, contact Adriana Stagnaro by calling 707-823-5244 or by emailing

Gold Ridge RCD Seeking Grower Interest in Procuring Wind Machines for Frost Protection

Gold Ridge RCD is seeking grower interest in receiving grant funding assistance to procure wind machines for vineyards located in our District.

If enough growers express interest, and a willingness to share in the overall project cost (grant programs generally pay for part, but not all of a project), Gold Ridge will develop a competitive grant proposal to pursue funds through emerging programs established by California Proposition 1, such as the California Department of Water Resources Agricultural Water Use Efficiency Grants Program, with funding potentially available as early as 2016.

Grower interest is critical in securing this available grant funding. For many vineyards, wind machines can effectively protect vines during bud break in late winter and spring without using water. At a time when water conservation efforts are crucial, wind machines are one of the best ways to protect our vineyards from seasonal damages.

Please contact Noelle Johnson to express your interest to learn more, or (707) 823-5244.

Gold Ridge RCD to offer groundwater level monitoring services

As the drought continues and groundwater supplies become less reliable, well owners throughout our district have become increasingly concerned about monitoring their well water levels. The Gold Ridge RCD is currently developing a program to offer confidential monitoring services for residential or commercial wells. Measurements will be performed using a sonic meter, so there is no risk of water contamination. While all information about well levels and locations is completely confidential, participants in the program may have the option of having their well data included in the California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Program (CASGEM). Monitoring will occur at least biannually, with measurements taken in the spring and fall. Additional measurements may be arranged more often at well owner request.

Fees for having your well monitored, currently $20/visit, are meant to cover the cost of the program. The RCD anticipates that this cost will drop as more landowners express interest. The fee is payable by check or via the PayPal link below. Depending on your well location, participation in the CASGEM program may allow us to waive the fees.

If you own a well within the RCD's district and are interested in having your well water level monitored, or have questions about the program, please contact:

Noelle Johnson
Conservation Planner

For online payments:

TEAM Agricultural and Environmental Education Program

Students learn to identify Marcoinvertebrates using a dichotomous key Teaching Environmental and Agricultural Memories (TEAM)
The Gold Ridge RCD’s TEAM field trip program takes elementary students onto agricultural lands in west Sonoma County to learn about agricultural production and environmental stewardship. TEAM field trips provide a unique experiential learning opportunity for children to explore the characteristic agricultural heritage and open space in our county. Field trips are designed to meet California State Science Standards for grades three, four and five.

Groundwater Elevation Monitoring

Wilson Grove - Bodega Bay map California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Program (CASGEM)
In partnership with the Sonoma County Water Agency, the Gold Ridge RCD is recruiting landowners with private wells to participate in a voluntary groundwater elevation monitoring program. The project covers the Wilson Grove and Bodega Bay groundwater basins, shown on the adjacent map. The goal of the program is to assess seasonal and long-term trends in groundwater levels as part of the statewide CASGEM program.


Pollinators Insectaries for Pollinators and Farm Biodiversity
This project was a pilot effort to enhance pollinator habitat on seven working farms, including a vineyard, three organic vegetable crop farms, a cattle ranch, an orchard, and one diverse farm with grapes, vegetable crops, and livestock. The project was a collaborative effort led by the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District, including participation from Farm Stewards, Partners for Sustainable Pollination, the Xerces Society, the North Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council, and the many landowners and community members who helped to plant nearly 2 acres of pollinator habitat using over 6,100 plants.

Dutch Bill Creek Coho Habitat Enhancement

Coho Habitat Dutch Bill Creek Coho Habitat Enhancement
Dutch Bill Creek is a primary focus of salmonid recovery efforts in the Russian River Watershed, and is part of the Russian River Coho Salmon Captive Broodstock Program. The stretch of creek where these structures are being placed has been identified as a priority site for coho salmonid recovery.

The instream structures, composed of logs, root wads, and boulders, are designed to work in a number of ways. They affect water flow to scour the streambed, creating large, deep pools that juvenile salmon need to survive summers. They also create shelter and provide refugia during high winter flows. Structures can enhance aquatic macroinvertebrate populations, a key food source for juvenile salmon. Structures can also be designed to promote channel aggradation, allowing for the accumulation of the coarse gravel that salmon returning from the ocean need to spawn.

Dutch Bill Creek Fish Passage

Dutch Bill Creek Dam Dutch Bill Creek Fish Passage
The Camp Meeker Dam on Dutch Bill Creek in western Sonoma County was built in the 1950s to create a seasonal swimming hole and beach area, but now the dam is identified as one of the worst barriers to fish passage in the Russian River Watershed. Another is a culvert at Market Street in nearby Occidental.

With federal, state and local funding, the Gold Ridge RCD and the Camp Meeker Recreation and Park District will remove the dam and reconfigure the culvert to restore free passage for salmon and steelhead. In place of the dam, a prefabricated 80- foot steel pedestrian bridge will be installed, improving public access across the creek. As part of this project, stream banks will be stabilized and revegetated, and a more natural meander and grade change will be created. These improvements will help return the natural transport of gravel from upstream and provide better fish habitat.

Save Our Salmon (SOS)

young coho salmon Save our Salmon (SOS) -
The Salmon Creek Habitat Rehabilitation Program - Phase I

Coho salmon were once common in central and northern California, spawning in large numbers in most coastal streams, including Salmon Creek and its tributaries. Populations declined steeply during the 20th century, however, and the coho disappeared completely from their namesake watershed in the late 1990s. With the decline of the coho came the crash of the local fishing industry, which was an important part of the west Sonoma County economy.

The coho and other salmonids have been the focus of watershed restoration efforts designed to improve habitat conditions for the fish and assist in their long-term survival in coastal California. In Salmon Creek, the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District has been an important part of these efforts, conducting assessments of watershed and habitat conditions, working with local landowners on stream protection and restoration projects, and helping to inform the public about the ecological and economic importance of coho. Efforts to restore the fish in Salmon Creek were given a huge boost last December, when the California Department of Fish and Game planted over 300 adult coho in the stream.

Estero Americano Dairy Enhancement Program

Estero Americano Dairy Enhancement Program Estero Americano Dairy Enhancement Program -
Phases I & II

The main goal of the first phase of this project was to assist dairy operators in the Estero Americano watershed reach full compliance with current and future water quality standards, and to significantly reduce nutrient pollution entering the estuary and its tributaries.

The second phase focused on improved manure management practices, and the adoption of pasture management practices that promote soil fertility, forage productivity and water quality protection.

Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District
2776 Sullivan Rd., Sebastopol, CA 95472
phone: (707) 823-5244   |   fax: (707) 823-5243

many thanks to the Sonoma County Water Agency for funding the development of this website