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Rangeland Management Workshop Demonstrates a Toolbox of Best Management Practices

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In December the Coastal San Luis Resources Conservation District (RCD) held a “Toolbox for Rangeland Management Practitioners: A Demonstration of Best Management Practices (BMPs) at Cal Poly’s Escuela Ranch. It was an informal workshop that touched on a variety of innovative and cost-­effective rangeland management BMPs followed by a demonstration tour.

The topics included water (such as off-creek storage, nutrient management, water rights and wildlife-­‐‑friendly livestock ponds); erosion prevention; fencing (such as riparian fencing and demonstration of a water gap product); carbon farming; and permitting secret handshakes.

Local ranchers Mike and Terrie Estrada demonstrated a mechanism they developed to reduce or eliminate the time and labor it takes to clean out or rebuild water gaps when fence crossings are compromised by floods and debris. The Water Gap Saver was designed to help farmers and ranchers with water gap fencing issues, to protect the natural habitat of wildlife, and to end soil erosion. The mechanism allows fencing that would clog with debris to be released by an anchor system so the debris can continue downstream. To learn more about the Water Gap Saver, click here.

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Morro Bay Agricultural Water Quality Enhancement Program Successfully Completed

During the past several years, the Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District (CSLRCD) has partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Morro Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP), and various willing landowners/ land managers to successfully complete theMorro Bay Agricultural Water Quality Enhancement Program. This program is part of a long-­term effort that directly benefits water quality objectives by reducing the amount of pollutant loading and pathogen transport within the Morro Bay watershed.

Work was focused in impaired areas in the following sub-­watersheds within the Morro Bay watershed: Los Osos Creek, Warden Creek, Warden Lake and Chorro Creek (see map, above right). The program was funded by a State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) – United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 319(h) Nonpoint Source Implementation Grant Program.

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The major goal of the Program was to significantly reduce pollutant loading and pathogen transport into Morro Bay by conducting various water quality improvement projects and completing the following major tasks: (1) Education and outreach; (2) Technical assistance, site selection, best management practice (BMP) design; (3) BMP implementation; and (4) Monitoring.

These elements have been completed between 2011 and 2016. Broadly, these projects included installation of riparian fencing, manure management systems, off-creek watering systems, rural road erosion prevention, irrigation efficiency, nutrient management, and streambank stabilization.

This water quality enhancement program resulted in 13 projects spanning more than 6,800 acres with nearly 40 BMPs designed and employed. In addition, technical assistance was provided to landowners/ managers on more than 1,100 acres. The direct reach of this program exceeds 8,000 acres within the Morro Bay watershed.

We are pleased to report that this program has exceeded all targets that were initially set. The work completed as part of the program continues to build on a strong collaborative partnership in the Morro Bay watershed, which has demonstrated restoration effectiveness for decades.

Above left: Five large pieces of woody debris are incorporated into a rock slope to stabilize the channel and encourage pools for steelhead trout and the California Red-Legged Frog (CRLF). Middle left: Freshly completed construction at the base of an old equipment access route faces downstream. Woody debris, fiber roll and erosion control fabric work to ensure the creek is no longer diverted and will begin to adopt its new channel during winter rains. Lower left: Fish and frog specialists from various organizations provided support for successful relocation of steelhead and CRLF.


CSLRCD Chosen to Participate in Watershed Stewardship Program (WSP)WSP Alyssa working hoses1.jpg

The Watershed Stewardship Program (WSP) is a community-­based watershed restoration, education and outreach program serving 23 watersheds from Yreka to the Santa Monica Mountains. Resource professionals who need help assessing natural resources, such as an RCD, pair with college students and graduates who need an opportunity to gain hands‑on experience and other critical job skills.

In this 10‑month mentor‑member program, the two San Luis Obispo County Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) were chosen to participate for the first time. Alyssa Bucci (left, moving hoses), who was placed with the Coastal San Luis RCD, is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and concentration in Natural Resources.“Without the support of WSP, our RCD would lack the necessary capacity to truly button up our large implementation projects,” says RCD Conservation Programs Manager Jen Nix. “WSP participants'ʹ skill level, ability to learn quickly and independently, and ability to remain adaptable to the ever‑changing needs of our RCD fills a gap within our organization. I hope we can maintain WSP support in the coming years.”

WSP members have to complete two outreach/educational projects. The Wonders of Watersheds (WOW) Education Program provides K‑12 classrooms with quality watershed and salmonid lessons that help students understand their local environment. Each member must teach at least 25 students for a minimum of six hours of classroom time. The Watershed Awareness Project (WAP) is a project the member organizes to recruit, train and manage a minimum of 30 volunteers in a hands‑on watershed restoration project.

Please contact the Coastal San Luis RCD if you are interested in the outreach/educational projects, (805) 772-­4391. 


Environmental Quality Incentives Program Through NRCS

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The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmentaql benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation or improved or created wildlife habitat. The program is managed through the Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS) and funded by the Farm Bill.

NRCS accepts EQIP applications year-round, but establishes cutoff dates to make funding selections for eligible, screened and ranked applications. To learn more about the program and the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 EQIP Fund Pools, click here.

The FY17 cutoff dates to consider eligible, screened and ranked applications for funding are as follows:

  • January 13, 2017
  • March 17, 2017
  • May 26, 2017


Join the Team at CSLRCD --

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For more than 50 years, the Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District has been helping landowners with soil and water conservation projects and education that protect the creeks and rivers leading into Morro Bay, Oso Flaco Lake and the Cuyama River.

The seven-member volunteer Board of Directors currently has a vacancy. Anyone interested in serving on the Board or interested in the RCD and its work, please see the Board Director job description (below) or call the RCD office at (805) 772-4391.

Letters of interest addressed to the Board of Directors at the CSL RCD office should be received by September 22, 2016; please send to 1203 Main Street Suite B, Morro Bay, CA 93442.  

Board Director Job Description Candidates must be registered voters in California and must reside in the District or own property in the District. Directors are either elected or appointed by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and serve a four-year term. There are no limits on the number of terms. Directors receive no compensation, but can be reimbursed for pre-approved travel and other associated expenses when conducting work of the District.

Board Members are expected to: • Be interested in local conservation issues and willing to learn about them • Attend monthly Board meetings • Participate in District policy and program development • Provide financial guidance and oversight • Provide guidance and direction to staff and maintain fair and equitable personnel policies

Qualifications: • Understand the need for conservation of soil, water and other natural resources. Other qualifications that may be helpful are:      a) Environmental awareness      b) Skills in conduct of meetings and parliamentary procedure      c) Technical background in environmental sciences or agriculture

Other Requirements: • Complete ethics training (available on-line) • Complete Statement of Economic Interests (FPPC Form 700) upon assuming position, annually, and upon leaving position

For further information about the seven member Board of Directors: • Visit the Coastal San Luis RCD website: www.coastalrcd.org • Call the CSL RCD office: 805-772-4391



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Board of Directors Meeting

Board of Directors Meeting
12:30 Friday, May 26, at UCCE Auditorium, SLO

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