Where We Work

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.

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;

  • 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.

 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

Welcome to the EMRCD!
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The EMRCD is a not-for-profit, special district 170(c)(1), that solely operates on donations, grants, contracts and special fundraising events. It is governed by a Board of Directors, and quality staff, to ensure all community-based efforts help Merced County.


In accordance with California SB 272, the EMRCD provides a list of “enterprise” systems that are used across multiple departments or that contain information collected about the public and are systems that serve as original sources of data within an agency. The enterprise catalog can be viewed by clicking here.

© 2017 by East Merced Resource Conservation District 

Address: 2926 G. Street Merced, CA 95340