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The RCD is pleased to welcome Chris Coburn as its new Executive Director.  Chris is a long time steward of natural resources in Santa Cruz County and brings a wealth of experience to the organization.  Chris comes to the RCD after eight years serving the County as a Water Resources Analyst.  Prior to that, he was a Water Quality Program Director for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  Chris has a degree in Biopsychology from the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Masters in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB. Away from work, Chris enjoys a variety of outdoor sports and chasing after his twin boys.


The Santa Cruz Sentinel published a front page story on the incredible work done by Karen Christensen and the transition to Chris as Executive Director.

Santa Cruz Sentinel: A Caretaker of the Environment


Welcome, Chris!  We look forward to working with you.

Rich 40 years

“After 40 years with NRCS, I feel like I’m just getting started,” says Rich Casale, District Conservationist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Capitola, California. He adds, “Honestly, I don’t even think of retirement, in fact, I feel like I have more to offer now than any other time in my career.” Rich is now one of the longest (not oldest) serving NRCS employees in California, an agency with more than 400 employees statewide.

When Rich walked into the Santa Barbara field office on June 17, 1974 to report for his first day of duty, the office staff didn’t know he was coming. They were so unprepared that they gave him policy manuals to read his entire first day on the job. In April 1975, as a young soil conservationist, he transferred to the Salinas office, which at that time served both Monterey and Santa Cruz County. Later that same year he started working out of an NRCS area administrative office that was located in Watsonville in order to better assist Santa Cruz County growers and conservation districts. During the next three years he assisted four local conservation districts helping them to reorganize their territories, and allowing the formation of the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County in February, 1978. By May of 1979, NRCS opened a full-fledged field office to exclusively serve Santa Cruz County. Rich was selected to serve as the first District Conservationist for the newly established office and still serves in that capacity 35 years later.

San Vicente Creek, located by Davenport, while small in size provides a number of important benefits including providing water supply to Davenport community, unique karst geology underlying the majority of the upper watershed, and providing year round access to and from the ocean for CCC coho salmon(Oncorhynchus kisutch) and CCC steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss). For this reason, fisheries enthusiasts have long been invested in recovery efforts in San Vicente Creek. However, much of the past fisheries restoration and recovery work within this watershed has happened without a larger plan that brings together all of the existing data on the physical and biological processes and outlines crucial projects for salmonid recovery.

Local partnership receives state grant to promote and construct ground water recharge, water quality and flood management projects in Santa Cruz County

The County and City of Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley Water District, the Resource Conservation District (RCD) and the Regional Water Management Foundation have partnered to successfully secure $2,259,773 in Proposition 84 Stormwater Grant Program funds to complete four projects that enhance groundwater recharge, reduce flooding and foster countywide cooperation in reducing polluted rain water runoff (stormwater). The partners are contributing an additional $712,310 of local in-kind match to complete the projects. This effort continues a long tradition of collaboration among organizations working together to improve water quality and water supply in Santa Cruz.

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