Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

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


Alison Pouliot – The Fungus Whisperer

Alison Pouliot is a natural historian, environmental photographer, honorary fellow at the ANU and a font of all knowledge on the subject of fungi.

In this video, Alison talks about the role fungi play in healthy, productive soils. She shares her enthusiasm for working with farmers to build living soils that support the mutually beneficial relationship between fungi and plants.

“If we create the right conditions for fungi to flourish…….. get the biology back in the soil and reduce the pressures, the fungi will come.”


How Fungi Made All Life on Land Possible

In this video, I look at an unseen cornerstone of our ecosystems: fungi. Fungi are the reason why life on land exists, as they helped plants move from the ocean onto land via symbiosis.

Even to this day, fungi is an incredibly important part of nature, and also has so many different uses to human. Although the word “fungus” may conjure up negativity in some, fungus has been the driving force for evolution, and life as we know it would be possible without them.

Music by Epidemic Sound: http://epidemicsound.com/creator

Huge thank you to CuriosityStream for letting me use footage from their awesome documentary, The Kingdom: How Fungi Made Our World. Watch it free right now! https://curiositystream.com/wonderwhy


Lone Federally Approved Bay Area Slaughterhouse Shuts Its Doors to Private Ranchers

Marin County ranchers pride themselves on raising their animals from farm to fork. But some say that might get a little harder now with Marin Sun Farms shutting its slaughterhouse to private label producers starting Jan. 1.

The Petaluma slaughterhouse — the only federally approved facility in the Bay Area — has allowed ranchers to grow and sell their meat locally, rather than having to send their animals hours away to be slaughtered and then shipped back to the region. Access to the facility has kept quality high and the carbon footprint low.

That’s partially why it was a hard decision, said Claire Herminjard, co-executive officer of Marin Sun Farms, which processes large animals like cattle, hogs, lambs and goats. A key reason for the change: Several managers experienced in handling compliance with federal meat inspection law and managing livestock for slaughter have left Marin Sun Farms over the last 18 months to pursue other work in a tight job market. That made it harder for Marin Sun Farms to keep the local business running for private ranchers.

Continue here.

Source: Miranda Leitsinger KQED

KQED News’ Peter Jon Shuler contributed to this report.


Living Soil

Our soils support 95 percent of all food production, and by 2060, our soils will be asked to give us as much food as we have consumed in the last 500 years. They filter our water. They are one of our most cost-effective reservoirs for sequestering carbon. They are our foundation for biodiversity. And they are vibrantly alive, teeming with 10,000 pounds of biological life in every acre. Yet in the last 150 years, we’ve lost half of the basic building block that makes soil productive. The societal and environmental costs of soil loss and degradation in the United States alone are now estimated to be as high as $85 billion every single year. Like any relationship, our living soil needs our tenderness. It’s time we changed everything we thought we knew about soil. Let’s make this the century of living soil.

This 60-minute documentary features innovative farmers and soil health experts from throughout the U.S. It was directed by Chelsea Myers and Tiny Attic Productions based in Columbia, Missouri, and produced by the Soil Health Institute through the generous support of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

A special thanks to Dawn Bradley, Brian Berns, Keith Berns, Bill Buckner, Mimo Davis, Dan DeSutter, Miranda Duschak, James “Ooker” Eskridge, Barry Fisher, Liz Graznak, Steve Groff, Jerry Hatfield, Trey Hill, Larkin Martin, Bianca Moebius-Clune, Jesse Sanchez, Larry Thompson, John Wiebold, Kristen Veum, Kevin Mathein, Ben Harris, Tim Pilcher, Josh Wright, Haley Myers, Rob Myers and Josh Oxenhandler.


Never Underestimate the Intelligence of Trees

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Consider a forest: One notices the trunks, of course, and the canopy. If a few roots project artfully above the soil and fallen leaves, one notices those too, but with little thought for a matrix that may spread as deep and wide as the branches above. Fungi don’t register at all except for a sprinkling of mushrooms; those are regarded in isolation, rather than as the fruiting tips of a vast underground lattice intertwined with those roots. The world beneath the earth is as rich as the one above.

For the past two decades, Suzanne Simard, a professor in the Department of Forest & Conservation at the University of British Columbia, has studied that unappreciated underworld. Her specialty is mycorrhizae: the symbiotic unions of fungi and root long known to help plants absorb nutrients from soil. Beginning with landmark experiments describing how carbon flowed between paper birch and Douglas fir trees, Simard found that mycorrhizae didn’t just connect trees to the earth, but to each other as well.

Simard went on to show how mycorrhizae-linked trees form networks, with individuals she dubbed Mother Trees at the center of communities that are in turn linked to one another, exchanging nutrients and water in a literally pulsing web that includes not only trees but all of a forest’s life. These insights had profound implications for our understanding of forest ecology—but that was just the start.

Continue here.

Source:  Brandon Keim, October 31, 2019, Nautilus


Where is SOD this year? 2019 Blitz results meeting

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Sudden Oak Death 

2019 Blitz Results Meeting

Tuesday, November 12

6 – 8 PM

Where:  University of California Cooperative Extension Office

133 Aviation Blvd, #109, Santa Rosa, CA

  Cost:  Free

  Click to register or visit ucanr.edu/2019SODBlitzResultsMeeting

At this meeting, local and Statewide results of the 2019 Sudden Oak Death citizen science survey, the “SOD Blitz,” will be made public. The meeting promises to be extremely interesting with the discovery by volunteers of outbreaks in areas previously thought to be uninfested. A detailed update on the status of infestations around the Bay Area will also be given. New treatment and new diagnostic options will be presented as well.

Click here to Register

For more information on the SOD Blitz project, click here

Hosted by the UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County Sudden Oak Death Specialists. Thanks to the USDA Forest Service for program funding. Questions? kwininger@ucanr.edu