Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

We inspire and partner with our community to protect the natural resources and agricultural future of our District.

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Losses of soil carbon under global warming might equal U.S. emissions

For decades scientists have speculated that rising global temperatures might alter the ability of soils to store carbon, potentially releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and triggering runaway climate change. Yet thousands of studies worldwide have produced mixed signals on whether this storage capacity will actually decrease — or even increase — as the planet warms.

It turns out scientists might have been looking in the wrong places.

A new Yale-led study in the journal Nature finds that warming will drive the loss of at least 55 trillion kilograms of carbon from the soil by mid-century, or about 17% more than the projected emissions due to human-related activities during that period. That would be roughly the equivalent of adding to the planet another industrialized country the size of the United States.

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Source:  Kevin Dennehy, Yale News, November 30, 2016

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Pasture Walk: Radical New Grassland Management Ideas, Bodega Bay

December 1, 2016

10 am to 1 pm


The Pasture Walk will focus on grassland health, including overgrazing, over rest, how soils sequester carbon, and why our management of grasslands is of critical importance environmentally, socially, and economically. Let’s look at the land, see how grasslands work, and discuss the management implications.

View the flyer here.


Richard King, 25 yrs. experience in managing grassland, Certified Professional in Range Management CP99-53 (SRM), Certified Rangeland Manager #M5 (CA Board of Forestry & Fire Protection), CNGA Board member, Certified Holistic Management Educator (HMI), Accredited Field Professional, (Savory Institute), retired USDA-NRCS

Marie Hoff, Rancher

NOTE:  Lunch is NOT included. Registration limited to 30 people. 

Register here. 


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Dairy Grazing Apprenticeships Are Great for Beginning and Established Farmers

Image result for dairy family

For centuries, skilled trades have used apprenticeships to train the next generation and ensure that everyone meets standards that are good for the trade and good for the customers being served. Now Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship is using this model to help new farmers entering the world of dairy production, and to support established farmers as they work with the next generation of producers.

Here’s how the program works:

The apprenticeship consists of 4,000 hours of training over a period of two years. Of these hours, 3712 are paid employment and mentoring under an approved Master Dairy Grazier. A comprehensive DGA Training Manual (or “Job Book”) lays out the competencies that must be met in order to own and operate a managed-grazing dairy farm, providing a blueprint for the mentoring process.

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Source:  Kathy Voth, On Pasture, November 28, 2016

Scientists have developed a synthetic way to absorb CO2 that’s way faster than plants


The conventional logic when it comes to addressing Earth’s dangerously high carbon dioxide (CO2) levels is to figure out ways to make sure we pump less CO2 into the air in the first place.

But plant life also helps to reduce humanity’s carbon footprint, sucking up about 25 percent of our carbon emissions to produce fuel for itself during photosynthesis. The only problem is, nature’s system for doing this is pretty slow and inefficient, but what if it could be boosted?

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Source:  Peter Dockrill, Science Alert, November 18, 2016

Pigeon Towers: A Low-tech Alternative to Synthetic Fertilizers

Photo credit: Bekleyen, A. (2009). The dovecotes of Diyarbakır: the surviving examples of a fading tradition. The Journal of Architecture, 14(4), 451-464.

Many societies, ancient and contemporary, have innovated ways of supplying their fields with fixed nitrogen and phosphorus—two crucial ingredients for crop productivity. One is crop rotation, which alternates nitrogen-fixing and nitrogen-exhausting crops. Farmers around the world make use of chickens, ducks, and geese to add “fresh” guano to their fields. Cattle manure is another useful alternative—although it often lacks in phosphorus. Much more labor intensive than simply adding fossil-fuel derived synthetic fertilizer, these practices tend to build up soil, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and lead to less run-off into rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Persian pigeon towers are one of the more elegant solutions to the nitrogen-phosphorus problem. These are essentially castles built for thousands of wild pigeons, strategically placed in the middle of the fields. Their droppings were shoveled up once a year and sold to nearby farmers. While most pigeon towers existing today are in disrepair, the oldest still standing are dated to the 16th century (but they are assumed to have existed over 1,000 years ago) and helped fuel the cultivation of Persia’s legendary orchards, melons, and wheat production.

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Source:  Aaron Vansintjan, No Tech Magazine, October 25, 2016.

The Kids Suing the Government Over Climate Change Are Our Best Hope Now

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, pictured in the foothills of north Boulder, Colorado, on Aug. 11, is one of the young plaintiffs in the climate case.

 Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Photo Credit:  Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post via Getty Images

After a week that sent advocates of a habitable Earth reeling, new hope has emerged that could make way for substantial climate action in the near term—even during a Trump administration: The children and young adults suing the federal government for their right to a stable climate can now proceed to trial, an unprecedented move in the American legal system.

The path was cleared by a federal district court judge in Oregon who wrote an opinion preliminarily finding that a stable climate is a fundamental constitutional right. In the groundbreaking decision, announced on Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken ruled in favor of a group of 21 children and young adults in their suit against the federal government. In denying the government’s motion to dismiss, Aiken, based in Eugene, Oregon, opened a path for an eventual court-mandated, science-based plan to bring about sharp emissions reductions in the United States. The case, Juliana v. United States, will now go to trial starting sometime in 2017 and could prove to be a major civil rights suit, eventually finding its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Source:  Eric Holthaus, Slate, November 14, 2016