Mendocino County RCD Newsletter

January 2023

In The Issue:

December revegetation of Neefus Gulch in the Navarro watershed. Photo: Linda MacElwee

  • Soil Hub Award and New Website!

  • Northern Red Mountain Forest Improvement project

  • Forestry and Wildfire Agencies in the County

  • SWEEP and HSP update

  • TERA is Hiring

  • Willits Project Update

  • MCRCD welcomes new board member and staff

North Coast Soil Hub Celebrates Award and Website

North Coast Soil Hub is a collaborative agricultural network of organizations, agencies, and producers dedicated to building soil health in Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties, including MCRCD.

North Coast Soil Hub received the 2022 NRCS Partnership Award and is celebrating the launch of our new website!

Visit the new SoilHub website

Northern Red Mountain Forest Improvement Project

The MCRCD Forestry Program received funding for the first phase of the Northern Red Mountain Forest Health Improvement Project. The project spans 997 acres of proposed treatment area, with a budget of $2.7 million, and a timeline of at least 3 years. The project is located on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land and contains 14 treatment units branching from a single gravel road. More than 13 private landowners live up the gravel road, which is a large reason why this project was approved. From the residential perspective, with only one main road in and out, the Red Mountain Project was necessary to allow for safe firefighter access and residential evacuation during a wildfire.

A common forest management practice implemented along roads is a shaded fuel break. With a shaded fuel break, understory vegetation is heavily reduced, tree limbs are pruned up, and most small trees are removed, while larger trees are kept. A shaded fuel break keeps a closed canopy layer made up of larger trees to prevent excessive light from reaching the understory layer. A fuel break does not necessarily keep a closed canopy layer and can consequently promote the regrowth of a dense understory and defeat the original purpose to mitigate fire risk. Ridgelines, valleys, and watercourses are the most effective landscape features to place a fuel break because they provide a natural shift or break in a landscape. For this project, the shaded fuel break extends a minimum of 50 feet on either side of the road & ridgelines. With a shaded fuel break implemented, fire fighters will have a clearing to set up wildfire crews to mitigate the likelihood of a wildfire spreading.

For more information about the Northern Red Mountain Project Click Here

Do you need help managing your forests?

There are multiple agencies in Mendocino County that offer a variety of forest health and wildfire risk reduction services. The photos below show a landowner's property before and after the North Bay Forest Improvement Program. For more information on how you can improve your forests take a look at the "Mendocino County Forest & Wildfire Agencies Handout."

Click here to download a copy of the Handout

Left: forest prior to treatment. Right: same forest after treatment.

State Water Efficiency & Enhancement Program (SWEEP) & Healthy Soils Program Delayed

California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) 2022 rounds of the Healthy Soils and SWEEP Programs have been delayed into 2023.


In the 2022 budget, CDFA was appropriated $85 million for HSP and $110 million for SWEEP, increasing the pool of funds for each program by $35 million and $60 million respectively from the 2021 round. In 2021, CDFA awarded more than 1,200 individual grants through the two programs and reviewed thousands of applications.


Because of the anticipated volume of applications for the 2022 round of the programs, CDFA is launching a Block Grant Pilot Program for HSP and SWEEP in addition to the regular pathways for the programs. This reorganization has delayed the launch of both programs into 2023.


Both pathways for funding are expected to open to farmers and ranchers in the Summer or Fall of 2023. However, those dates are yet unconfirmed.

Learn more about SWEEP and HSP

TERA is Hiring

The Tribal EcoRestoration Alliance is hiring for 3 positions:


Fuels Captain to serve as a mentor to their Intertribal Hand Crew. Salaried $55,000 - $75,000.


Administrative Manager to spearhead bookkeeping and HR matters. Salaried $60,000 - $70,000.


Project Manager to keep their fuels and restoration work organized and moving forward. Salaried $55,000 - $65,000.


Visit TERA's hiring page
Willits Mitigation Lands News

The MCRCD’s Willits bypass mitigation lands project is pleased to announce a new collaboration with the Mendocino County Museum Located at 400 E. Commercial St. in Willits.

Mendocino County Museum at 400 E. Commercial St. in Willits

The project has rented a room in the museum to house its interpretive natural history materials that the public will now have full access to. This new location will also provide an opportunity for community members to interface more regularly with project staff. Going forward it will also serve as a hub for public tours, offer opportunities for classroom components to outdoor education, and promote the greater MCRCD organization and its programs and services to the community and beyond. 

This effort has the full support of the museum staff, and museum Director Karen Mattson who worked hard to make it all possible. Having a space at the museum will be a wonderful asset for the community and will provide a center for science education. Some of the natural history materials visitors can expect to see include a variety of informative displays including bird nests, feathers, elk antlers, skulls, a plant herbarium, and video media of wildlife and landscapes from mitigation lands.

Natural history materials at the Mendocino Museum.

The room will provide opportunities for anyone who is interested to learn more about the Little Lake Valley ecosystem and the work that goes into ecological restoration on mitigation lands and beyond. There will be a MCRCD staff member present most Wednesdays to answer questions and to guide people through all the wonderful natural treasures in the collection.

This collaboration between the MCRCD and the Museum will also serve local school children and offer enhanced curriculum to classes and teachers. Field trips to the museum will include components of both the local history of the county and natural history of the region. Students can hear stories of people who lived here in the past at the Library, explore the Museum and their exhibits, and experience nature on Mitigation lands.

Staff at the County Museum and MCRCD have begun to develop plans for spring tours. Please keep an eye on our event calendar on our website for upcoming events and programs at

Tour in April on Willits BMP lands.

Check out the Willits Blog Posts Here

New Members of Board and Staff

Tony Orth

Board Member

Tony has been active in conservation efforts here in Mendocino County since the early 1980s. Fire safety, environmental health, and renewable energy issues have been lifelong pursuits. As an elected Brooktrails Township Director and a Mendocino County Local Agency Formation Commissioner he brings a local governance perspective to the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District Board meetings.

Doug Turk

Forestry Project Manager

After working for many years in finance, project management and program management in the High-Tech Industry, Doug decided to return to school to focus on his passion for conservation management, sustainable forest management, climate change mitigation and wildfire risk reduction. After completing two years of undergraduate coursework in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences at Oregon State University, Doug transferred into the school’s College of Forestry, where he earned his MS Degree in Forest Ecosystems and Society. In June of 2022, Doug joined the MCRCD as a Forestry Project Manager, where he now focuses on community wildfire risk reduction, habitat restoration, soil management, invasive species management, and mitigating the risks of climate change to forest ecosystems.

Ellen Murphy

Forest Ecosystem GrizzlyCorps fellow

Ellen Murphy (she/her) is from the Bay Area, CA and fell in love with the outdoors when she caught her first reptile. With this passion, she graduated from UC Santa Cruz in June 2020, majoring in Environmental Studies with a focus in Biology. For the past 2 years, Ellen has explored various avenues as a Soundscape technician at the Grand Canyon, outdoor educator at Golden Gate Recreation Area and Olympic National Park, and has worked with elephant seals at Point Reyes National Seashore. With her experience, Ellen is excited to bring a variety of skills to MCRCD as the Forest Ecosystem Planning and Outreach fellow.

Jessica Reid

Soil and Water GrizzlyCorps fellow

Jessica joined MCRCD as a GrizzlyCorps fellow in 2022. She graduated from Amherst College in 2020 with a B.A. in Geology and Russian, where her thesis research on paleoproterozoic gneisses in Montana introduced her to the joy of fieldwork. After her undergraduate study, Jessica worked as a research geologist for the USGS Earthquake Science Center, focusing on tsunamis and related geohazards. Her interest in climate action and land management, as well as a desire to get involved with environmental challenges close to home, led her to GrizzlyCorps and MCRCD, where she works in the soil and water programs.

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