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Department of Conservation- Capacity Building Grant

Forest, trees, and fog

Name of Grant: Department of Conservation, Division of Land Resource Protection, RCD Funding Assistance Program

Timeframe: June 1st, 2017- February 28th, 2019

Grant Awarded: $46,209.43

The California Department of Conservation Capacity Grant funding is being utilized to increase the visibility, sustainability and relevancy of the Colusa County Resource Conservation District. This addresses the issue of RCDs statewide being referred to as a “best kept secret”.  As much as we would love to believe we are well known throughout the community time and time again we are reminded that it just isn’t so. We’ve never had the luxury of being afforded staff time devoted to promoting ourselves and educating the public about what we do. This opportunity is greatly appreciated and a long time overdue. The following paragraphs define the current issues the CCRCD face in regards to visibility, sustainability and relevancy and actionable steps in addressing them.

VISIBILITY: The CCRCD defines visibility as being well known within the community and beyond which is of utmost importance as it is the key to supporting locally led conservation. Through marketing and promotion the CCRCD will have the potential to play a more crucial role in the community leading conservation. Our existing website is outdated and supported by software that is no longer available. Professional help will be hired to move and redesign the existing website onto a free platform such as WordPress. We will also maximize efforts to use social media in the most effective ways possible. The CCRCD online newsletter will be resurrected and monthly newspaper articles will be created and published in our local newspaper. A PowerPoint presentation will be developed and presented to a minimum of 4 Colusa County service organizations and local government. CCRCD staff will utilize farm visits and stakeholder meetings and events to promote the CCRCD and garner local natural resource priorities. Time will be taken to create an annual report for the 2017/2018 fiscal year that highlights the accomplishments of the CCRCD made possible through the DOC capacity building grant program. At least 5 copies will be printed in a high quality manner and provided to the Colusa County Board of Supervisors, CARCD, DOC, legislators and other entities as identified.

SUSTAINABLITY: It is vital that the CCRCD develop a sustainability plan to secure a viable future. Efforts would include succession planning as the district’s longtime Executive Director is planning to retire in late 2018. Also, the board is composed of aging members that could retire soon and it is crucial that successful transitions are made so institutional knowledge is not lost. Financial stability is imperative to support staff retention. Researching financial opportunities such as “fee for service” and grant opportunities is an important component of the work plan. Creating new projects, in partnership with other entities that share common goals, and seeking funding to implement the project is also a vital element of the plan. Developing the grant writing skills of newer employees will also help increase the stability of the CCRCD.

RELEVANCY: The CCRCD’s third objective is to increase the relevancy and value of the CCRCD within the community. Becoming more visible within the community will directly lead to becoming more relevant and valuable to the community. One of the most important measurements of our relevancy will be when we have identified and can deliver a valuable service to our agricultural community. We will use the CDFA’s Healthy Soil Initiative to identify a landowner driven demonstration site for educational outreach. We will guide landowner to landowner transfer of information to support healthy soil practices. Our board will become better equipped to provide a more substantial role in establishing our value by participating in CARCD training opportunities. An exhibit will be erected and staffed at the 2018 Colusa Farm Show to promote RCDs and solicit landowner needs. All public outreach efforts will compile landowner identified opportunities that will be incorporate into the development of the 2019/2023 Long Range Plan. We know there are local needs that still need to be identified and part of increasing our relevancy is listening to the needs of the agriculture community to understand how we can better deliver services. New Partnerships will be made and fractured partnerships will be fortified by identifying mutually beneficial projects and creating MOUs that pledge our commitment to work together. The CCRCD will continue to assist with the Colusa County Grown program to make sure it continues to be utilized to promote the good environmental stewardship provided by agriculture.