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Soil Health and Carbon Farming Central to Mission of RCDs

Partners across California are collaborating to celebrate Healthy Soils Week 2019.

Healthy Soils Week-#1

NRCS is happy to partner with groups across California to recognize Healthy Soils Week 2019 to sustain this vital resource.



Soil Health and Carbon Farming Central to Mission of RCDs

The 96 Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) help address pressing statewide issues like climate change, reducing the impact of drought, protecting water, creating habitat for fish and wildlife, restoring critical habitat for endangered and threatened species, reducing the risk of catastrophic fire, and improving soil health on natural and working lands. The California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) is the hub of the statewide network of 96 RCDs.

HSP Yolo Co.The NRCS and RCDs have enjoyed an invaluable partnership, nearly since their inception. The partnership makes NRCS and RCD programs much more effective and efficient. Healthy soils and water conservation are critical to the mission of both RCDs and NRCS making these prime areas of collaboration.

Carbon Farming

In 2016, the CARCD and the Carbon Cycle Institute (CCI) formed the Carbon Farm Network to assist land managers and landowners to create resilient and adaptive working landscapes and mitigate atmospheric carbon in the face of climate change. Working landscapes have a significant role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating global climate change, particularly through the sequestering of atmospheric carbon in soils and vegetation. By bringing agriculture to the table as a climate change solution, rather than merely as a GHG emitter, carbon farming offers producers an exciting avenue of constructive engagement with one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time.

Carbon Farming involves comprehensive on-farm/ranch planning, similar to NRCS Conservation Plans. There are thirty-five NRCS conservation practices that improve soil health and sequester carbon while producing other important environmental co-benefits, including hydrological function, biodiversity, ecosystem resilience and productivity. Carbon farming is successful when carbon sequestration resulting from enhanced land management and/or implementation of conservation practices exceed carbon emitting.

NRCS Soil PitOver forty RCDs are involved in the Carbon Farm Network, with over sixty completed plans. The RCDs leverage State and Federal programs in order to create Carbon Farm Plans and eventual implementation.

After recognizing the community need, the Mendocino RCD, Sonoma RCD, Gold Ridge RCD, and Napa RCD came together to develop the North Coast Soil Health Hub. This collaboration also includes the NRCS field offices and local UC Cooperative Extension. Collectively, the RCDs and partners serve their districts by offering soil health assessments, watershed enhancement, and carbon farm plans. Inspired by the success of this Hub, the RCDs are developing six more hubs throughout California to support local farmers and ranchers in their soil health and stewardship efforts.

Find your local RCD by exploring this map here.