What are Resource Conservation Districts?
Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) are some of California’s earliest grassroots
conservation organizations: identifying conservation needs and supporting local land managers in implementing solutions on a voluntary basis.
RCDs were first founded after the Dust Bowl in the 1930s to bring federal and state funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers so that they could voluntarily conserve water, soil, and wildlife habitat on their land with the help of a local and neutral partner. RCDs are local, non-regulatory special districts which seek to provide technical and financial assistance to landowners for conservation projects in their districts.
There is a Resource Conservation District in every county in California. The formation and governance of RCDs are laid out by Division 9 of the State’s Public Resources Code.
RCDs are woven into their communities and thus have a unique local role in conservation. Strong working partnerships with community members, private and public land owners and managers, non-profit organizations, research institutions, and all levels of government allow RCDs to deliver a broad range of on-the-ground solutions to resource and conservation challenges.
RCDs throughout California maintain a special relationship with each other, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD), California Department of Conservation (DOC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS).