Resource Conservation District
Climate Resilience: Sustainable Agriculture and Water Technician
This position involves lots of outreach and office work, so the member should be comfortable communicating with community members and teammates as well as working independently on focused computer tasks. Members with strong skills in planning, writing, professional communications, and networking will do well. Other areas of education, interest, or skills that would be useful include:
Education and/or experience in soil health, sustainable agriculture, and water management and conservation
Experience with ArcGIS, Excel and PowerPoint
Background knowledge and/or field experience in ecology, native plant and animal identification
Social media and online outreach (Wordpress, constant contact, social media, polling/surveys, etc)
Spanish language skills
Public Speaking: presenting and reporting research and project findings
Openings: 1 of 1
Focus Area: Agriculture
Climate Mitigation & Adaptation, Education & Outreach, Regenerative Agriculture, Watershed Management
Education & Outreach
Goals & Needs
The mission of MCRCD is to conserve, protect, and restore wild and working landscapes to enhance the health of the water, soil, and forests of Mendocino County. Like much of the state, Mendocino County experienced one of the most severe droughts on record between 2020 – 2022. Water Year 2023 has so far reminded residents about the related impacts of climate change and altered hydrology: large-scale flooding, flashy water levels, and erosion. Water supplies for agriculture, environment, and the residents of Mendocino County are threatened by changing conditions, making planning for the future more important than ever.
The need for resources and assistance is vast, and MCRCD is at the forefront of the county’s organized efforts, striving to scale-up programs and build the capacity necessary to meet those needs.
The GrizzlyCorps fellow will support MCRCD in the Sustainable Agriculture and Water Programs in the following roles:
Expand capacity for Carbon Farm Planning and CDFA Climate Smart Agriculture programs, including planning practices that enhance carbon sequestration and reduce carbon emissions.
Collaborate to plan and implement pollinator habitat installations with landowners across Mendocino County.
Support the Water Program by assisting with groundwater and invasive aquatic species monitoring, expanding drought resilient water practices, and restoring watershed health through rural road improvement.
Improve outreach and education for MCRCD regarding sustainable agriculture, forestry, and water conservation via social media, website, newsletters, and other platforms.
The GrizzlyCorps fellow will follow MCRCD’s guiding principles and work alongside the Sustainable Agriculture and Water Teams helping to deliver on the community and climate resilience goals listed in our Five-Year Strategic Plan.
MCRCD has previously hosted four GrizzlyCorps fellows who were successful in building capacity within the organization and taking advantage of opportunities for personal professional development; two were hired as full-time MCRCD staff following their term of service and two are currently in their service period with the potential for staff recruitment.
A typical work week involves a mix of office and field work that changes seasonally. Fellows can expect majority office work, with regular check-ins with their supervisor and other staff members. Many days may be spent in communication with landowners and project partners, developing supporting materials for projects such as Carbon Farm Plans, making/sharing social media and newsletter materials for events, or attending webinars. A handful of days per month will be spent in the field collecting data or at landowner site visits.
Capacity Building Projects
1. Program support for Carbon Farm Planning
Carbon Farm Plans evaluate land management practices of a property, assess resource concerns and landowner goals, identify opportunities to improve carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide implementation guidance. The Fellow will assist in all planning activities: site visits, mapping, writing, communications, literature review, and supporting managers with reporting materials. MCRCD currently has planning funds through upcoming grants from the NRCS Regional Resource Conservation Partnership and CDFA Conservation Ag Planning Grant Program.
2. CDFA Climate Smart Agriculture - Healthy Soils Program and State Water Efficiency & Enhancement Program
This project includes assisting program staff to provide technical assistance directly to landowners for planning sustainable agriculture practices, improved water management, and reduced fuel emissions in Mendocino and Lake Counties. The fellow may work in a team or individually to contact, assist, and follow up with producers. The fellow will contribute to the following project outcomes: Completed applications, suggested plant lists, site maps, long term partnerships, and successful implementation.
3. Groundwater Elevation and Invasive Species Monitoring for Mendocino County
The GrizzlyCorps Fellow will support water resources staff in both groundwater elevation and invasive Quagga Zebra Mussels monitoring. Fellows will be trained in proper procedure for monitoring, data collection and data management. Desired outcomes include on-going high-quality data, reports, or presentations on the data.
4. Rural Tank Program for Water Security and Fire Preparedness in Mendocino County Disadvantaged Communities
This project will install rainwater catchment tanks at fire stations and residences to conserve streamflow in the summer, increase water self-reliance, reduce the risk of catastrophic fires, and protect endangered salmonids. The GrizzlyCorps fellow will assist with the following: communication with landowners, construction administration and implementation, sign design, and coordination with planning partners.
5. Outreach and Education Services
MCRCD lacks capacity for extensive outreach and education services. We rely on program staff to conduct their own outreach and create necessary materials, and struggle with a consistent online presence. A fellow will be partially devoted to engaging stakeholders and the public about programs and opportunities through social media posts, videos, and newsletters. Desired outcomes include weekly social media posts, and assistance with quarterly newsletters and an annual report.
6. Watershed Conservation through Streamflow Enhancement and Rural Road Improvement
Watershed health is a product of land use from ridgetops to the rivers. MCRCD’s water program takes this holistic approach to projects throughout the county. From promoting streamflow enhancement through rainwater catchment tank installation, to addressing sediment transport from rural road networks, to working with landowners to address fish passage barriers, the work of our water program is broad, always expanding, and in need of extra support. The particular interest of our fellow would greatly influence the specific projects that they could assist with. Desired outcomes would include landowner outreach and communication, assistance with project coordination, and designing interpretive materials.
Organizational & Community Highlights
MCRCD has 14 employees and is organized into five programs: Water Resources, Sustainable Agriculture, Forest Health and Resiliency, Land Stewardship, and Operations. The fellow would support primarily the Sustainable Agriculture and Water Resources Programs but will have the opportunity to learn from all programs of the RCD. Work culture at MCRCD is very collaborative, and fellows can expect to work closely with staff members in the programs they are supporting. Fellows will also be encouraged to take ownership of projects that pique their interests, supporting professional development skills such as time management and project coordination. MCRCD is on the forefront of conservation in Mendocino County and partners with neighboring RCDs, Carbon Cycle Institute, the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, CSU Chico’s Center for Regenerative Agriculture & Resilient Systems, and many other organizations. Fellows will have the opportunity to learn from veteran professionals in the field and attend many educational workshops and events.
Mendocino County is about two hours north of San Francisco, CA and has the motto of “wine, waves, and wilderness”. It’s made up of 2.2 million acres and only 86,000 people, and includes a wide range of environments, including the northern edge of wine country, the heart of the redwood coast, striking valley views, expansive oak woodlands, evergreen forests, and an over 90 miles of world-renowned coastline. The main industries are timber production, tourism, wine, and an agricultural mixture of vineyards, orchards, cannabis, and small diverse farms, with a growing and supportive community of young conservation professionals.
The host site is in Ukiah, Mendocino’s largest city with a population of about 17,000. Like many Mendocino destinations, the town is small but charming. Vibrant main streets house bookshops, cafes, art stores, restaurants, farmers markets, and more. It’s a small world in Mendocino County, but with plenty to explore.