In This Area:


Conservation Practice Evaluation & Monitoring



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.


Gully Stabilization

USDA Archive Image.


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.


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.