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About Us

serving as a local hub for conservation: connecting people with the technical, financial, and educational assistance to conserve and manage natural resources


Our Goals 

  • Promote voluntary and collaborative natural resource conservation
  • Improve water quality and ecosystem health
  • Increase native vegetation along the Lower Merced River riparian corridor
  • Remove invasive plants
  • Provide education and outreach programs
  • Promote recreation and water safety programs
  • Create collaborative partnerships with stakeholders

What are RCDs? 

Resource Conservation Districts across California serve as local hubs for conservation, connecting people with the technical, financial, and educational assistance they need to conserve and manage natural resources. A defining characteristic of RCDs is that we provide non-regulatory, confidential, free assistance.

RCDs are established under California law to be locally governed with independent boards of directors that are accountable to our communities. Our relationships with the communities we serve and their trust are critical to how we accomplish our work.


RCDs are not part of the County government. We are special districts, a form of local government created by the community to meet a specific need such as fire protection, open space, or flood control. RCDs help meet the need for voluntary resource conservation.


As trusted stewards of public and private funds, RCDs are subject to transparency and accountability laws that require public meetings, open records, annual audits, and financial reporting.

More about California RCDs:

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Community and Environment

The East Merced Resource Conservation District (EMRCD) encompasses approximately 190,840 acres, with a total sphere of influence (which includes all of Merced County east of the San Joaquin River in the State of California) encompassing more than 659,000 acres.

Topography varies from rolling foothills in the east to gently sloping alluvial fans and terraces on the valley floor. EMRCD was formed on March 7, 1997, through the consolidation of five smaller districts; La Paloma RCD, Ballico RCD, El Nido RCD, Stevenson, RCD, and Lone Tree RCD. As a legally constituted unit under the State of California, it was created to develop and further ongoing programs to conserve natural resources in eastern Merced County.

Both watersheds within EMRCD’s work area have similar habitats and land use issues. Elevation ranges from around 500 feet along the base of the Sierra foothills to less than 50 feet along the San Joaquin River. Native habitat transitions from annual grassland on higher alluvial terraces, to alkali scrub and sink on the basin rim to extensive perennial marshes within the Central Valley basin.

Merced RCD Concerns

Issues of concern in the watershed include: urbanization, habitat degradation, invasive species, and pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer run-off. 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.

Land use within EMRCD includes rangeland, dry-farmed land, irrigated agriculture, wildlife habitat, rural, and urban

Emrcd Collage

Learn More 

The EMRCD provides natural resources, education, and conservation programs in Eastern Merced County.  We act as an independent local liaison between government agencies and local landowners and work closely in Merced County with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. We pursue funding to assist landowners with meeting conservation objectives and/or regulatory compliance.