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Sonoma Resource
Conservation District

Santa Rosa, CA

https://sonomarcd.org/

 

Community Engagement: Groundwater Sustainability

Desired Skills/Traits:

  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in a field related to environmental studies, water resources, hydrology, communications, or natural resources.

  • Primary Skills:

    • Strong written and verbal communication skills, highly organized managing multiple tasks and deadlines, and familiarity with natural resource management practices and or water resources issues.

    • Spanish fluency is preferred, but not required.

    • Ability to frequently remain in a stationary position; operate a computer and other standard office equipment; visual capacity to review and edit documents; converse by telephone and in person.

    • Frequent bending, lifting to 30 lbs., and grasping.

    • Ability to work on rugged or uneven terrain in all weather conditions.

  • Secondary skills:

    • Highly motivated, enjoys working in a team environment, strong attention to detail, flexible to changing task priorities, and an ability to execute assignments efficiently and on time.

    • Interested in helping both people and natural resources, and respectful of private property ownership and management.

Openings: 1 of 1 

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Focus Area: Water Resources

Watershed Management, Education & Outreach, Climate Mitigation & Adaptation

project breakdown

Research

20%

Planning

20%

Implementation

20%

Education & Outreach

40%

Goals & Needs

The Sonoma Resource Conservation District (RCD) is a local government agency dedicated to bridging the needs of the community and natural resources by empowering people to strengthen the resilience of Sonoma County. In existence since 1946, we have built a strong reputation among land managers and partner organizations, which enables us to bridge disparate interests and make good work happen on the ground. Our county has been hit hard by the impacts of climate change, in the form of wildfires, floods, and drought, driving our organization to be more adaptative than ever to serve the needs of people and natural resources. The RCD works with a varied network of partners to harness this opportunity through outreach, planning, and implementation to engage, educate, and empower our community through technical assistance strategies. Our Strategic Plan 2021-2024 illustrates the RCD’s vision and mission to engage with all community members in equitable ways, create programming that advances solutions to address our most pressing natural resource concerns and climate resiliency, to promote a shared culture of conservation among our diverse community, to enhance our ability to adapt effectively to meet our community’s needs, while also supporting transparency and a healthy work culture among our dedicated board and staff.

The GrizzlyCorps Fellow will help build the RCD’s capacity to meet these community needs in several key ways: (1) supporting the outreach goals of our Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) in three groundwater basins; (2) conducting community research to support outreach to well owners, including small and historically underserved farmers and producers, to gain their participation in a Voluntary Well Monitoring Program; (3) creatively engage our diverse communities around our mission of conservation by leveraging digital collateral and social platforms while exploring new approaches to reach community members; (4) identify critical data gaps and actively participate in groundwater monitoring efforts to improve data collection. The Fellow’s service will inform and expand RCD communications strategies and promote a shared culture of conservation that focuses on the interdependence of the community and the land. With the bulk of the RCD’s work and messaging focused on resilience and carbon sequestration, the Fellow’s efforts will have a lasting impact on these assets in our community. The Fellow will work closely with the RCD’s Executive Director, Community Engagement Program Manager, and engage with other staff on our Water Resources team on an as-needed basis.

Capacity Building Projects

 

The Fellow will work with the Sonoma RCD team to support the planning, outreach, and delivery of our water resources program and groundwater sustainability projects in Sonoma County. California’s historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) became effective on January 1, 2015, at the height of the state’s last drought. SGMA mandates that groundwater resources be sustainably managed to ensure that water will be available today and into the future for all beneficial users, including flora and fauna, municipal and domestic, agricultural, and business users. Currently, Sonoma County has three basins designated as medium or high priority: Panta Rosa Plain, Sonoma Valley, and Petaluma Valley. Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP) for Santa Rosa Plain, Sonoma Valley, and Petaluma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) in coordination with local agencies and partners were approved by the California Department of Water Resources in 2023. Additionally, since 2009 the Sonoma RCD has been part of the California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring (CASGEM) Program which tackles seasonal and long-term groundwater elevation trends in groundwater basins and non-basin areas statewide.

The Fellow will work alongside the RCD’s Executive Director, Community Engagement Program Manager, Engineers, and Water Resources Project Manager to implement all the goals of this project. Desired project outcomes are:

  1. Support outreach to well owners, including small and historically underserved farmers and producers, to gain their participation in a Voluntary Well Monitoring Program;

  2. Develop informational items on groundwater resources, water conservation practices, recharge opportunities in English and Spanish;

  3. Actively participate in monitoring over 50 wells seasonally as part of the GSA and CASGEM programs; and

  4. Develop at least one community workshop in partnership with GSA members and the RCDs.

 

The Fellow will increase the RCD’s capacity to address critical groundwater outreach and services to our diverse communities within our three high-priority basins. Groundwater resilience and community engagement are critical to the sustainability and longevity of our groundwater resources.

Organizational & Community Highlights

 

The RCD team is a close-knit group of 15 who value service to our community, conservation of natural resources, and teamwork to accomplish these goals. Our workplace is casual and flexible. We work hard and look for ways to have fun together. Serving with the RCD presents an excellent professional development opportunity in that the Fellow will work closely with and learn from a multidisciplinary team that includes two Professional Engineers, a Registered Professional Forester, ecologists, geologists, soil experts, and other professional staff with a diversity of natural resources experience. As a team, we value helping one another learn and succeed. We pitch in to help teammates during busy times, and we support cross-training through teamwork and field shadowing. A hallmark of our organization’s success is our trusting relationship with rural and agricultural landowners. The Fellow will have the opportunity to grow professionally by interacting with key partners and landowners who have a breadth of land management experience. We work with land uses such as forests, vineyards, row crop farms, and dairy; with landowners who have owned and farmed their properties for generations, and with others who are new to farming; with those whose views on conversation and management are more traditional, and those who are seeking to try new and innovative practices.

 

The RCD’s office is located in Santa Rosa, the county seat of Sonoma County. While Sonoma County is a relatively rural county, the Santa Rosa metropolitan area is the largest on California’s North Coast. Our county is home to bountiful hiking trails, a variety of ocean beaches, and the Russian River which has been a popular recreational destination for locals and tourists for over 100 years. Our local food scene is burgeoning, including organic produce, artisan cheese, fresh roasted coffee, food trucks and pop-ups, and restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining. We are a craft beer mecca, a wine region that was named 2019 region of the year by Wine Enthusiast magazine, and home to an increasing number of craft distilleries. Our country roads offer spectacular vistas, as our local governments have been thoughtful about maintaining community separators and protecting land with scenic and cultural value. It doesn’t take long for a visitor to understand why Forbes listed Sonoma County as one of its top 20 destinations for 2020, and in the same year, Frommer’s readers voted it the best destination in the world. 

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