Today, Gold Ridge RCD still assists in managing our district’s soil health by offering soil and manure sampling services, completing projects that prevent and treat soil erosion, developing sustainable pasture and rangeland management plans, developing carbon farm plans (strategic planning for farms and ranches to curb and sequester greenhouse gas emissions) and improving the availability of resources related to the specialized material Biochar. The RCD also rents out a special piece of equipment called a non tillage drill which conserves vital soil microbial health while sowing seed.
Healthy Soils News
New Soil Health Hub Supports Climate Beneficial Practices in North Coast
In 2017, RCDs from Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino County, NRCS, UC Research and Extension Centers and other partners collaborated as the North Coast Soil Health Hub with funding from the CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant to create an information-sharing network that would support farmers in improving their soil health. The network is currently laying the groundwork for soil health demonstrations, workshops with industry specialists, farmer-to-farmer forum discussions, an online resource library and more. The RCDs invite farmers to access and contribute to resources and discussions online at the North Coast Soil Health Hub.
Vineyards are the Beginning
The North Coast Soil Health Hub is starting with the vineyard industry but will build the network to include other agricultural industries in the three counties over time. In April 2018, a survey collecting anonymous information from hundreds of north bay winegrowers on their climate beneficial/soil health practices closed. The results, being processed now, will help the RCDs, UC Farm Advisors, and NRCS understand the barriers to and opportunities for beneficial/soil health practices regionally and later provide support and technical guidance to winegrowers interested in adopting these practices.
The Sonoma County RCDs offer many programs to vineyards to plan for holistic management, improve their soil's health, conserve water, increase wildlife and desirable pollinator species in the vineyard, comply with regulation, and recover from the 2017 fire storm. You can see a consolidated list of services for Sonoma County vineyards here.