Napa County Resource Conservation District

Our Story

Resource Conservation Districts are one of California’s earliest grassroots conservation organizations that identify conservation needs and support local land managers in implementing solutions on a voluntary basis. The catastrophic soil losses of the dust bowl 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. 

The Napa County Resource Conservation District (RCD) was formed in 1945. It 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. 

Description of the District

The Napa County RCD covers RCD_Boundary_6-2016over 500,000 acres of predominantly rural land in Napa and Solano Counties including the Napa River watershed from Mt. St. Helena to the Napa-Sonoma Marsh, much of the Putah Creek watershed, and the upper portion of the Suisun Creek watershed. The incorporated area of the City of Napa, as it was in 1945, is not within the boundaries of the Napa County RCD. However, RCD services are provided to this area. 

Download a district map:  RCD Boundary 2016.pdf  

Leadership and governance

Leadership and governance of the Napa County RCD is provided by a seven-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. There are also several Associate Directors that provide guidance and assistance to the RCD. 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 empower the community to voluntarily conserve, protect, and restore natural resources in a landscape that supports agriculture, urban areas, and wild spaces. We provide technical assistance, educational programs, monitoring programs and funding sources to help land managers improve their conservation practices. 

Guiding Principles

The Napa County RCD does not have regulatory authorities and must rely on partnerships with individuals, community organizations, and other government agencies to fund and implement its conservation programs. We recognize the importance of voluntary involvement by government and private citizens as an effective means to carry out natural resource conservation and we are committed to utilizing cooperative and scientifically sound methods to achieve our mission. 

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

  • Sound Science: We are committed to utilizing cooperative and scientifically sound methods to carry out our work. 
  • Long-Term Stewardship: We strive to build a community ethic of stewarding natural resources for this and future generations. 
  • Trust and Integrity: In all of its work, the Board of Directors and staff act as professionals, treat others with respect, and behave in an honest and ethical manner. 
  • Collaborative Partnerships: We work together with others to create strength through partnerships. 

NRCS–RCD Partnership

The RCD enjoys a special partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) which spans the history of the RCD. Our agencies share an office and we often work together to provide locally-led technical and funding assistance to landowners to implement conservation practices on private agricultural lands. 

Funding

A small portion of our funding comes from property taxes assessed within our district boundary. Approximately 85% of our annual funding comes from competitively sought grants, professional service agreements, tax-deductable donations, and revenue from the sale of wine grapes from Huichica Creek Vineyard, our sustainable vineyard demonstration property. The RCD consistently seeks to diversify revenue sources to mitigate for the inherent risk in our funding structure.

Goals

  • Inspire: Promote watershed-based land stewardship of natural resources
  • Investigate: Evaluate watershed conditions and functions
  • Act: Provide planning services and implement resource conservation practices and projects.
  • Manage responsibly: Practice sound fiscal and staff management

Learn more in our Strategic Plan and financial reports.

Who we are

The RCD is a local non-regulatory organization whose mission is to promote responsible watershed management through voluntary community stewardship and technical assistance.

Since 1945, the RCD has facilitated natural resource conservation through community involvement, education, technical expertise and scientific research. The RCD is committed to using voluntary, cooperative and scientifically sound methods to ensure that the natural resources of our watersheds are sustained, restored and protected.

The RCD covers over 500,000 acres in Napa and Solano Counties — all of Napa County and a small portion of western Solano County.

Board & Staff page