Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County

For nearly 75 years, Santa Cruz County public and private lands have been supported by various Resource Conservation Districts, which work with landowners and ranchers, public agencies, the general public, and other groups to conserve natural resources. The present Resource Conservation District (RCD) of Santa Cruz County merged two formerly distinct districts in 1978, creating one entity that covers more than 260,000 acres of land. This includes all unincorporated areas and the City of Capitola, which joined in 1983. The RCD supports environmentally and economically sustainable programs and projects to keep our ecosystems thriving, our animal and plant species diverse, and our water supply clean and plentiful.

The RCD balances the needs of a wide variety of organizations, landowners, and community members, advocating for open space and working lands—areas used and managed for agriculture or harvesting, for example—that conserve natural resources while supporting a sustainable economy. The RCD also provides technical assistance to landowners to identify environmental concerns, share expertise in permitting processes, and provide solutions to issues like erosion, water quality, habitat protection.

In addition to programs focused on agriculture, fire prevention, stormwater, and rural road erosion, the RCD supports species recovery at habitats throughout the County. At creeks and wetlands, for instance, the RCD organizes restoration and monitoring programs to rehabilitate endangered species and maintain water quality. The Santa Cruz Long-Toed Salamander is one local fellow who is benefitting from the work of the RCD in South County. Some projects restore areas that reflect diverse needs between agriculture, environmental protection, and development. Other programs focus on conservation education for diverse audiences like landowners, farmers, and students of all ages.

In 2011 the RCD partnered with the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority and the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to study the economic benefits of the counties’ open space areas. This initiative aims to compile data about the economic value of open space, bringing an economic perspective to advocacy for environmental conservation.

The Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County is located at:

820 Bay Avenue, Suite 136
Capitola, CA 95010

Learn more and find opportunities to get involved by visiting the Resource Conservation District website.

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An endangered Santa Cruz Long-Toed Salamander en route to a restored breeding pond. The RCD is working with local landowners, non-profits, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to protect this true local, found only in South Santa Cruz County and small portions of North Monterey County.