The District continues to work with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to assist them in implementing the national conservation goals. The District provides local input, expertise and assistance wherever possible. Some of the assistance provided includes planning on several Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) projects and Conservation Reserves Enhancement Program (CREP) projects along with general information regarding drainage and water quality projects.
During 2005 the District hosted one of seven, national focus groups to assist NRCS in updating their strategic plan. These focus groups were designed to allow farmers to provide direct input on how NRCS services are delivered and how they might be improved.
For local conservation projects, the District continues to partner with the Solano RCD on many of their grants to expand the area of coverage and to provide technical assistance as needed.
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area
The Dixon RCD was approached by the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in 2002 to assist them with management of their agricultural leases on the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. After discussing this with Yolo County RCD and Yolo County officials the Board determined that providing lease management services would be consistent with the District’s goal of promoting wildlife habitat that is compatible with farming.
The District entered into a lease agreement with the Department in April of 2004 and held the master lease covering all agricultural activities on the 16,000-acre Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area until February 28, 2015, when the Yolo County Resource Conservation District began an agreement with CDFW to provide the agricultural lease management services.
From 2004 to 2015 the District sublet portions of the wildlife area to tenants who in cooperation with CDFW and the District produced corn, tomatoes, rice, wild rice, livestock, and other crops, while demonstrating how if properly implemented farming and grazing can produce valuable wildlife habitat. The District received a fee from all rents collect from the agricultural activities and the remaining rent was paid to the State. The District also provided technical expertise for CDFW's grant to demonstrate and study the effectiveness of providing wildlife habitat in a rice – rice – fallow crop plan. The District and CDFW worked with other partners to document the types of wildlife and the benefits that are received from this crop rotation. We worked with the Department to evaluate the benefits for other grazing and crop rotations.