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What Are Resource Conservation Districts?

We are your partner in local conservation!

Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs), once known as Soil 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.

Resource Conservation Districts are “special districts” of the state of California, set up under Division 9 of the California Public Resources Code. RCDs promote local conservation goals, often across multiple city and county jurisdictions. Most RCDs are funded primarily through grants and private donations for conservation projects that bring millions of dollars to local communities. Additional revenue is earned through fees for services.

Division 9

RCDs are leaders in on-the-ground voluntary conservation efforts. RCDs are responsive and accountable to their communities. More than 98 California RCDs accomplish thousands of practical, hands-on conservation projects every year. Often these projects involve agriculture on private land, but RCDs also provide services related to water, habitat and fire prevention on private and public land including schools and parks.