Mendocino County Resource Conservation District

Resource Conservation Districts are one of California’s earliest grassroots conservation organizations–identifying conservation needs and supporting local land managers in implementing solutions on a voluntary basis. The catastrophic soil losses of the dust bowl era sparked national and state recognition that soil erosion was the greatest challenge to the country’s ability to feed its people and be a leader in agricultural production. Non-regulatory Conservation Districts were conceived by the federal government and were later sanctioned by the State of California in 1938 to provide assistance to local managers in addressing soil and resource conservation challenges.

MCRCD was formed as an independent special district under the provisions of the California Soil Conservation District Act, and was established by election on May 14, 1945. At that time, it was named the Willits Soil Conservation District and was comprised of 146,000 acres in the Little Lake Valley. In 1956, the District became essentially countywide with the exception of the territory within the incorporated areas of the county. Today, the District’s Sphere of Influence includes all 2.2 million acres of forest, rangeland, production agriculture, and cities and towns in Mendocino County. MCRCD is a “Special District,” a legal subdivision of the state, organized under Division 9 of the California Public Resources Code. Examples of other independent, special districts are Park and Open Space Districts, Mosquito Abatement Districts, and Flood Control and Water Conservation Districts.

Leadership and governance of the Mendocino County RCD is provided by a five-member volunteer Board of Directors, which consists of local landowners with diverse backgrounds and interests. The roles of the Directors are to establish priorities, set policies and guidelines, and oversee general operations. Day to day management of the RCD is conducted by an Executive Director and the work of the RCD is performed by a staff of natural resource and administrative professionals. Board & Staff page

RCD Mission

Our mission is to assist communities within our district to voluntarily conserve, protect, and restore wild and working landscapes in Mendocino County. We provide technical assistance, education and outreach programs, monitoring and assessment services, and funding opportunities to help land managers improve the long-term stewardship of the county’s natural resource base.

Guiding Principles

The RCD does not have regulatory authorities and relies on partnerships with landowners, tribes, conservation organizations, other resource conservation districts, and local, state, and federal agencies to plan, fund and implement conservation projects and programs. Our guiding principles are based in a strong commitment to broad-based stakeholder engagement, voluntary stewardship, and science-based decision making.

As we carry out our programs we are guided by the following principles: 

  • Science-based Decision Making
  • Long-Term Stewardship
  • Trust and Integrity
  • Collaborative Partnerships

Resource Conservation Districts throughout California maintain a special relationship with each other and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS). Mendocino County RCD is one of 11 RCDs in the North Coast Region. We work together to address regional natural resource management concerns. Our agencies work closely with USDA NRCS to provide locally-led technical and funding assistance to landowners to implement conservation practices on private agricultural and forested lands.

100% of our annual funding comes from local, state and federal grant programs, professional service agreements, and tax-deductible donations. The RCD consistently seeks to diversify revenue sources to mitigate for the inherent risk in our funding structure.