East Merced Resource Conservation District acts as an independent local liaison between federal government and local landowners. We work closely in Merced county with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service ( NRCS — formerly the Soil Conservation Service). EMRCD develops projects involving other California Resource Conservation Districts and conservation workgroups. We pursue funding to assist landowners with meeting conservation objectives and/or regulatory compliance.

Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) are the states’ only grassroots conservation delivery system that identifies local conservation problems and guides solutions on a voluntary basis. RCDs address a wide variety of conservation issues such as water and air quality, wildlife habitat restoration, soil erosion control, conservation education,  the preservation and awareness of nature and natural resources. In California, RCDs are “special districts” organized under the state Public Resources Code, Division 9. Each district has a locally elected or appointed volunteer board of directors made up of landowners or their designee in that district.

East Merced Resource Conservation District works with Central Valley landowners, State government agencies and other local partners to preserve natural resources. We focus on the following in our projects and activities:

  • Enhance the river and floodplain environment along the Lower Merced River (from Merced Falls bridge to San Joaquin River);
  • Preserve and enhance rangelands/Vernal Pool grasslands in Eastern Merced County;
  • Address water quality issues in the crop and dairy-land regions of Eastern Merced County;
  • Preserve agriculture lands;
  • Offering a variety of volunteer opportunities
  • Protect surface water and groundwater quality and quantity;
  • Protect and enhance soil health and air quality;DSC05531
  • Develop positive relationships with local, state, and federal legislators;
  • Promote awareness of natural resources issues unique to Merced County;
  • Develop/distribute technical information on wetland resources and wildlife habitat; and
  • Support management and education efforts for noxious weed control.
There are 99 California Resource Conservation Districts, most of which are funded largely through grants. The Department of Conservation and the NRCS provide training and in-kind support as well as a watershed grant program for RCDs.
The lower Merced River and its adjacent floodplains have been heavily altered through channel narrowing, diking, placement of revetments (rip rap), removal of riparian vegetation and gravel mining. The lower Merced is almost entirely privately owned and its predominant land use is agricultural.