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RCD StaffMeet Our Team of Specialists
paul robins

Paul Robins

Executive Director

Paul has served the RCD of Monterey County since 2008 after serving the Yolo County RCD for 13 years. The focus of his career has been on the interactions between agriculture, water quality, and wildlife habitat in California, with emphasis on the use of native vegetation systems and communicating their application to farmers and the public. Paul’s education includes an MS in Community Development and BS degrees in International Agricultural Development and Landscape Architecture from UC Davis.

(831) 975-7757   |     |   LinkedIn

 

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Maggie Errea

Finance Manager

Maggie joined the RCD in 2010 as a consulting bookkeeper and in 2017 became a permanent employee. She has strong ties to Monterey County having been born in Salinas (many years ago) and growing up on her family’s cattle ranch just outside of San Ardo. Although her BS (Cal Poly, Pomona – Animal Science) and BAs (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale – Classics and Art) only brushed bookkeeping, they did give her a diverse background which fits well within the RCD. She started booking in 1999 with the fateful question of "Do you think you could learn QuickBooks?" and has since worked for private businesses, corporations, and RCDs (and one cattle ranch).

 

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Audrey Garcia

Programs Assistant

Audrey joined the RCD in 2023 as Programs Assistant. She grew up locally in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Audrey graduated from San Jose State University with a BA in Studio Practice with a focus in printmaking. During her studies at SJSU, she travelled to Costa Rica to study sustainable printmaking at the Universidad de Costa Rica where she was inspired by the country’s focus on environmentally sustainable practices. As an artist, she finds inspiration from local nature and the life it supports. As Programs Assistant, Audrey works to assist the dedicated team at the RCDMC in the creation and execution of fundraising events, local programs, and community outreach. Audrey joined the RCDMC to help play her part in supporting natural resource conservation, local wildlife, and the community.

(831) 975-7775 |  

 

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Emily Zefferman

Ecologist

Emily joined the RCD in April 2016. Her main role is managing the Salinas River Arundo Eradication Program, but she has been involved in many habitat restoration and conservation projects throughout the county. She is a co-founder of the Monterey Regional Monarch Alliance.  Before coming to the RCD, Emily was a Research Associate in Urban Ecological Restoration at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where she led the first ecological inventory of Knoxville's Urban Wilderness. Emily completed her graduate education at the University of California Davis in 2014, where she received her PhD in Ecology with an emphasis in Restoration, and a certificate in Conservation Management. Her dissertation research focused on stream and riparian restoration. Before graduate school, Emily worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on water quality criteria development. She received her BS in Environmental Studies from Florida State University. Emily is committed to finding collaborative, equitable, and science-based solutions to ecological challenges.

(831) 975-7761   |     |   LinkedIn

 

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Megan Barker

Environmental Scientist

Megan Barker has over 11 years of professional experience as an Environmental Scientist. She initially came to the RCD in 2016 as a Biological Monitor for the Salinas River Stream Maintenance Program. She currently supports RCD programs with environmental permitting, biological surveys, and project management, with a focus on steelhead passage, construction/engineering, and forest health and fire resiliency. Megan is an FAA-Certified Part 107 drone operator skilled in data collection and analysis, who uses remote sensing applications for vegetation/invasive species classification and digital elevation modeling (drone, aerial, LIDAR). Prior to joining the RCD, Megan was an environmental scientist at Cardno from 2013-2015. She received a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from UC Santa Barbara, where she focused on water resources and pollution prevention, and a BA double major in Anthropology and Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz.

(831) 975-7747 |  

 

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Jasmine Ruvalcaba

Field Manager

Jasmine initially started at the RCDMC as a seasonal biomonitor at the start of the Arundo and Stream Maintenance programs in 2014. Jasmine graduated from CSUMB in 2007 with a degree in marine and coastal ecology. Since graduation, she has been involved in aspects of non-native species detection from wetland habitat restoration, coastal waters and embayments as well as ballast water treatment efficacy. In 2014, Jasmine completed her master’s degree in marine science with subtidal research on seaweeds at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.  During her graduate program she worked with the Central Coast Wetlands Group in local wetland habitat restoration and native plant nursery operations.   

She joined the RCDMC team as a Field Manager in April 2021 where she provides field logistics, biomonitoring, and mapping of Arundo donax in the Salinas River.  

    

 


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Geri Kavanagh-Baird

Wildlife Biologist

Geri comes to the RCD via a winding trail of diverse experiences. Living off-grid on a large inholding in the Los Padres National Forest for 43 years where she raised her two children provided her a rich and unscripted education in wildlife, ecology, and environment. She holds a BA in Latin American Studies from the UC Santa Cruz, where she developed Spanish language and cultural awareness skills. Geri worked 12 years with UC Berkeley on an environmental health study in the Salinas Valley. Since then, she has worked on a variety of studies including a UC Davis Western Institute for Food Safety and Security study on vectors of E.coli H7:0157 in leafy greens, the San Clemente Dam removal project, and conducting surveys with Environmental Services for the RCD’s arundo project. Geri joined RCDMC in 2016 as a seasonal biologist and became a regular staff member in 2023. When not in the field, Geri can be found in the dojo as she is a third-degree black belt in Jujitsu and mentors’ young girls in martial arts.

 
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Adrienne Carter

Civil Engineer

Adrienne joined the RCD of Monterey County in January 2018 as a licensed civil engineer with an interest in water resources. A Kentucky native, she moved to California to go to Humboldt State University and graduated from the Environmental Resources Engineering program in 2004. Following graduation she moved to the Monterey Bay area where she elevated to a senior engineer position overseeing project management, site assessment, construction, technical assistance and quality assurance. She has worked throughout the Central Coast and her projects varied in type and scale from discreet water use studies to large site development design. Adrienne focused her engineering experience on exploring potential for water reuse in decentralized areas..

(831) 975-7765   |  

 

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Laura Murphy

Soil Scientist

Laura joined the RCD as Soil Scientist in February 2018. Her first responsibilities at the RCD focus on providing technical assistance to small-scale, new and Spanish speaking farmers. After completing a M.S. in Soil Science at UC Davis, she worked at the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Salinas from 2010-2018. Her work at UCCE as a Staff Research Associate included irrigation, nutrient management and food safety research. In 2016, Laura completed the PEPA organic farmer educational program at ALBA in Salinas. She maintains her own small fruit and vegetable farm plot. Through the RCD, Laura supports farmers to test and implement both proven and innovative practices to build healthy soil and create thriving and sustainable farms.

(831) 975-7749 |  

 

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Aysha Peterson

Agroecologist

Aysha joined the RCD in August 2021 to support Spanish- and English-speaking farmers, with an emphasis on providing irrigation and nutrient management assistance. Aysha is committed to supporting movements for Indigenous sovereignty and environmental/food justice and is hopeful that ongoing work at the RCD can contribute to these efforts. Prior to joining the RCD, Aysha ran a modified Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiative with small-scale farmers in Salinas and worked on farms in California, Yucatán (Mexico), New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Aysha received a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz in 2023, a M.A. in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz in 2020, and a B.S. in Plant Science from the Pennsylvania State University in 2016.

 

 

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Evelyn Nordberg

Ag Team Coordinator

Evelyn joined the RCD in 2023 as the Ag Team Coordinator. She focuses on project administration, but also provides technical assistance and public outreach. Prior to joining the RCD, Evelyn worked for Salinas NRCS as an agronomist and conservation planner. Her particular interests include soil health, restoring on-farm biodiversity, and land tenure for farmers. She received a MS in Soil Science from UC Davis in 2019, and a BSc in Agronomy from Kansas State University in 2015. In her spare time, she tinkers with a million projects, ranging from herbalism to 3D printing.

(831) 975-7775 |    

 

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Kasey Butler

Ag Projects Manager

Kasey joined the RCD as the Ag Projects Manager in February 2024. Her responsibilities include supporting small and Spanish-speaking producers around nutrient management and irrigation and creating conservation plans around pollinator habitat and soil health. Prior to joining RCDMC, Kasey worked at the San Mateo RCD for 4.5 years on their Ag Stewardship Team. She also worked for UCCE San Mateo/San Francisco coordinating their Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver programs and worked on organic farms for 7 years before that. Kasey graduated from UC Davis with a BS in Community and Regional Development. She enjoys spending time outdoors biking and hiking especially when native wildflowers are in bloom.

(831) 975-7775 |    

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jamie Tuitele-Lewis

Fire Fuel Mitigation Program and Forest Health Coordinator

Jamie joined the RCD in November 2018. Jamie previously worked at the Sierra National Forest for the US Forest Service for 13 years as the Assistant Forest Botanist. Before that, he worked several seasonal positions for the Forest Service throughout Oregon and California. Jamie attended the University of Hawai’i Manoa with a BA in Botany and then went on to achieve his MS in Forest Ecology at Oregon State University in 2004 with his thesis on the biology and ecology of Potentilla recta in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. His career has focused on the management of rare plants, invasive plant management, and large multi-resource project planning. He also has worked as an independent contracting biologist for Sequoia Ecological Consulting doing wildlife monitoring. He has worked in several aspects of wildfire response and fuels management activities while in the Forest Service.

(831) 975-7784  |  

 

 
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Jaime Gonzalez-Canon

Program Manager

Jaime joined the RCDMC to coordinate Salinas River Stream Maintenance and other programs in 2024. He is a Colombian American with broad experience living and working in different cultures and is fluent in three languages. His professional interests focus on conservation, environmental policy, and regenerative farming. Jaime’s work experiences include a year of work and research for Conservational International as part of the Global Restoration team, where he participated in two flagship projects in Mexico and Colombia, working with the Arhuaco community. After that work, he served for a year with the Bureau of Land Management at Fort Ord National Monument, focusing on invasive species abatement. Jaime also taught as an adjunct professor for the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, leading students to Colombia and focusing on experiential learning. He received a B. A in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Nevada, Reno, and an M.A. in International Environmental Policy with specialization in Natural Resources Policy and Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. During his free time, he enjoys hiking, playing sports, and spending time with his family: Nadeen (wife), Luz Alejandra (daughter), and Sasha (dog). .

(831) 236-1740   |  

 

 
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Zoe Curcio

Conservation and Urban Agriculture Assistant

Zoe served with RCDMC as a GrizzlyCorps Fellow beginning in September 2022 and became a full-time employee in August 2023. Zoe supports urban and rural agriculture projects by installing pollinator habitat, organizing volunteers, helping with sample and data collection and maintaining communication with project partners. Prior to working at the RCD, she worked in social science research and program evaluation at the Institute for Social Research in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Zoe received her BA degrees in International Studies with a focus on Sustainability, and Languages (Spanish and French) from the University of New Mexico. She completed an internship at UCSC at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, and collected data for Resilient Coast Santa Cruz. She studied abroad in Toulouse, France; Tallinn, Estonia and Barcelona, Spain. Zoe grew up in Santa Cruz, California and is very passionate about exploring and conserving our incredible natural habitats, as well as the impact of local action and urban conservation projects to make positive change.