The Sierra Resource Conservation District (SRCD) encompasses approximately 3,063 square miles (1,960,248 acres) . The area is over 50% of the total acreage of Fresno County (3,817,025 acres).
SRCD Area Boundaries
The SRCD boundary area is found within Eastern Fresno County, in the Central San Joaquin Valley of California.
It is bounded on the north by the Fresno-Madera County line; on the east by the Fresno-Mono and Fresno-Inyo County lines; on the south by the Fresno-Tulare Co line and the Sequoia National Park Boundary; and on the west by Blackstone Avenue, Herndon Avenue, Fowler Avenue, and Jensen Avenue, as they intersect with each other.
The District also includes the campus of California State University, Fresno (CSUF), and three Native American Rancherias.
Approximately 15% of the district is in the valley floor with heavy urbanization, production agriculture and minor amounts of public lands. The terrain is predominately flat. As you go east, the terrain changes to rolling foothills which covers 20% of the district and the land is predominately eastside range intermixed with urban residential to the 4000 foot elevation. Continuing east the remaining 65% of the district extends to the 14,000′ elevation and is in timber lands intermixed with rural residential. The rapid rise in elevation increasing dramatically from the 2000′ to 5000′ elevation, creates steep valleys, rapid runoffs, and associated soil movements. Rapid water runoff from the upper watershed portions of the district has under certain conditions caused downstream flooding on both the San Joaquin and Kings River.
Vegetation types run full spectrum from sensitive citrus fruit and nut orchards, specialty crops on the valley floor, open eastside rangeland, extensive oak woodlands and brush in the foothills to the heavily forested mountains and alpine areas above timberline. It can be sunny in the valley floor on the west side of the district and snowing on the east side of the district. The forested lands have abundant wildlife. Summer range for some wildlife species like deer is on public lands, but the winter range is on predominately private lands in the foothill zone.
The district is experiencing dramatic growth, and conversion of land from agricultural uses to housing is a growing planning problem. Water is supplied by wells and groundwater supplies are an area of concern. Vegetative fuel overloads in the wildland-urban interface create an annual risk of catastrophic fire.
The mission and function of the SIERRA RESOURCE CONSERVATION DISTRICT is to take available technical, financial, and educational resources, whatever their source, and focus or coordinate them at the local level, to meet the present and future natural resource needs of the local land user.
To accomplish this, SRCD maintains working relationships with Federal, State and County Agencies and Departments, non-profit organizations, educational institutions which have natural resource duties and responsibilities under law, and with public and private landowners to save the basic resources, soil, water, and air of the state from unreasonable and economically preventable waste and destruction. Because of the status of the Resource Conservation District under state and federal laws, the District can call upon numerous state and federal agencies for technical expertise, funding and cost-sharing, in addition to County resources.
Private lands and the protection and conservation of critical natural resources on private lands are greatly affected by the policies and practices of the State and Federal agencies. Most effective conservation practices will involve both the public and private land ownerships. The SRCD can and does act as a liaison between the private landowner and a multitude of land use programs to meet natural resource objectives.
Critical Resource Concerns
The Sierra Resource Conservation District has identified the following long range concerns (more details in the Long Range Plan):
- Carbon Management
- Soil Erosion
- Water Resource Quality and Sustainability
- Agriculture and Rangeland
- Vegetation Mangement
- Wildlife Habitat
- Environmental Education
- Air Quality
Critical Partnership Needs
Over the years the district has been active in conservation partnerships for a variety of field projects with a number of agencies including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL Fire), the US Forest Service, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and UC Cooperative Extension.
We are very interested in expanding conservation partnerships with organizations and agencies for watershed planning.
Additionally, we would like to expand activities to do more management of fuels, erosion, and landowner stewardship training.
There is a growing need for a soil erosion study, as well as a land use mapping project, to chart changes on the district.
The district supports youth workshops, the Envirothon, and adult stewardship training programs.
We have sponsored the Fresno County Resource Conservation District Day, a “Living Among the Oaks” landowner workshop, and a Rangeland Water Quality workshop series.
Critical Operational Needs
The District has a small budget and relies on a small staff to generate grants and run projects. Operational funding is needed.
History of the Sierra Resource Conservation District
Resource Conservation Districts were created to develop and further ongoing programs designed to conserve natural resources. The Sierra RCD is an autonomous self-governing body. There is no taxing authority, by agreement, at the time of establishment. It is truly a “grass-roots” organization dedicated to serving both the private and public interest.
The original Sierra Resource Conservation District (SRCD) was established in March of 1957, as a legally constituted unit under the State of California. Since that time a number of land areas were added to the original area before consolidating with Navelencia Resource Conservation District June 23, 2008.
The Navelencia Resource Conservation District (NRCD) was consolidated with SRCD by a LAFCO resolution, passed by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors on June 23, 2008.
The NRCD was formed in October 1956 and later had a number of sections added to the original area before consolidation with Sierra RCD. The resultant Resource Conservation District retained the Sierra RCD name, with a new Board of Directors and Officers.