MONITORING & EVALUATION PRACTICES
The RCD helps cooperating farmers, ranchers, landowners and other land
managers implement a range of management practices, such as sediment
basins, planting steep slopes and creek banks, and improving irrigation
and nutrient management. These measures can reduce soil losses, bank
erosion and/or water and fertilizer consumption. All of the management
practices that the RCD promotes and designs are based on sound science
and engineering combined with local experience. We frequently estimate
how much a given practice will affect these losses, which is generally
a straight forward procedure. For example, a sediment basin of a given
size and drainage area will likely capture specific percentages of
sand, silt and clay. Those percentages can be predicted using standard
equations calibrated at sites across the country and applied to the
specific setting. It is important to calibrate and validate those predictions
for local conditions with field measurements, and to develop new predictive
relationships for the unique conditions of our area.
The RCD assesses certain practices
to see how good a job they do on working farms. We collaborate
with researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural
Resources Conservation Service, the University of California
at Davis, the University of California and Santa Cruz, California
State University at Monterey Bay and Moss Landing Marine Labs.
The goal of these partnerships is to quantify how much individual
practices or combinations of management practices improve water
quality. This information helps us and our cooperators make
informed decisions in planning management activities.
USDA Archive Image.
INNOVATIVE CONSERVATION PRACTICES
Monterey County agriculture is unique, and the RCD is constantly
innovating to identify new ways to conserve natural resources while
saving cooperating farmers, ranchers, landowners and other land
managers money and time. To this end we introduce management practices
that are new to the area and adapt them to local conditions. Past
RCD innovation, in collaboration with the local office of the Natural
Resources Conservation Service, led to the development of the Row
Arrangement and Winter
Road Seeding programs, found in our "Growers,
Ranchers, Farmers" resource area.
Vegetated Treatment SystemS
A Vegetated Treatment System is a planted area that water is directed
through to improve water quality. These systems take advantage of
the process of phytoremediation, which means the removal of contaminants
from water or soil by plants. Vegetated Treatment Systems must designed
carefully to accomplish water quality goals, and to prevent flooding,
elevated water tables, mosquito and crop pest problems. Browse to "Growers,
Ranchers, Farmers: Vegetated Treatment Systems" for more
information in this system.
GRADE STABILIZATION STRUCTURES
In order to arrest gully erosion at sites with relatively stable
banks, we are experimenting with soil cement and brush packing techniques.
At our project sites, we have found these alternative structures
serve well to stabilize eroding gullies, offer Please note: these
structures need to be designed and installed properly to prevent
failure. Browse to "Growers,
Ranchers, Farmers: Grade Stabilization Structures" for
more information in this system.