Working for Sonoma County during Shelter in Place

Working for Sonoma County during Shelter in Place

Here is a summary of some of the work our office is doing during shelter in place.

Fire & Resiliency

UCCE Sonoma is building on the foundational work of other county departments such as Sonoma Water and Permit Sonoma, by providing outreach to private landowners to address forest health, vegetation management and fire fuel reduction.

Lake Sonoma Decision Support System: Development of an online geo spatial reporting tool to help landowners assess:

  • Fire fuel reduction projects
  • Mitigation against wildfire hazard
  • Current status: roll out this fall.

Match.Graze: development of an online database that connects land owners and grazers.

  • Filmed educational videos
  • Creating website
  • Current status: roll out in early June.

Good Fire Alliance: partnership with Audubon Canyon Ranch to assist landowners in managing fire fuels through prescribed burning on private and publicly owned lands. The following prescribed fires are in the active planning stage:

  • 100+ acre burn unit at Cooley Ranch near Lake Sonoma; late May.
  • Sonoma Ecology Center is planning a burn at Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve; late May - early June.
  • Bodega Pastures spanning several weekends in October/November.

Resilient Landscapes: Master Gardener collaborative project to:

  • Host Firewise webinars
  • Develop materials for Fire Safe Sonoma's Living with Fire brochure and webpage resource.
  • Post Fire Survival/Mortality: research project to develop a quick and simple post-fire tree survival reference tool to aid with triage of burned landscapes.
  • Working with local fire departments to homogenize fire-resilient landscape standards.

Oak Tree Health: organized, hosted and presented:

Food Systems & Security

Master Gardeners: 

  • “Stay Home Grow Food” series has reached over 350 people with videos plus resources via an extensive social media campaign.
  • Gardener Sense program delivered by video conference to help homeowners reduce water use.
  • Master Gardener's are pivoting their classes to webinars. 

Food Distribution

The value of a strong, connected local food system to sustain the resiliency of our communities has never been more clear.

Coordinating with Sonoma County Food System Alliance and strategizing for a series of video conferences on longer term emergency food response planning & strengthening the local food supply chain looking to local production & distribution as part of meeting food need.

  • Meeting on March 23 with over 50 emergency food responders to strategize on coronavirus response.
  • Chairing the Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) Food group. Continue to collaborate with the group to meet the needs of emergency food organizations.
  • Sonoma County Food Recovery Coalition

UCCE used connections to secure donations of over 12,000 wine boxes to
Redwood Empire Food Bank
for boxing and distributing food.

Local Meat Supplies: Mobile Slaughter Unit (MSU)

UCCE is working with local livestock producers in Marin/Sonoma to create a business plan for an MSU which can assist local livestock producers with a local, safe option for processing livestock.

  • Applying for USDA grant to assist these producers to determine the functionality of keeping it in production.
  • Will develop educational and management strategies to ensure economic security for small-scale livestock producers.

Integrated Pest Management 

Provides growers with the tools they need to manage insects and diseases in vineyards and the IPM program is also involved in that effort for specialty crops such as olives and walnuts.

  • Collaborating with UC Davis researchers to continue projects that address soil and fungal pests that shorten the lifespan of vineyards.

Critical research on the newly detected invasive Mediterranean oak borer (pictured) found in valley oak in eastern Sonoma County. Collaborators include Cal Fire, US Forest Service, and CDFA. 


4-H youth educational programs have continued to engage youth and adults with online technologies. 

  • Developed fact sheets to support volunteer educators in delivering online programs available at Youth Development Resources 
  • Short-term educational programs have been implemented reaching elementary-aged children with science and art content.
  • Ongoing programming has been transitioning online focused for teens around college and career readiness (Juntos 4-H) and youth participatory action research.
    4-H Chicken Que edit 2

Annual Sonoma 4-H Open House and ChickenQue transitioned from a full-day chicken BBQ lunch fundraiser to a radiothon. 

  • Partnered with local radio The Bull 93.7 to do a radiothon.
  • The station promoted 4-H with interviews of staff, volunteers, and youth.
  • The event also served as a public awareness campaign showcasing the program's legacy helping youth reach their full potential.

Economic Viability

Climate Change

Working with local dairy and livestock producers to apply for grants from CDFA to reduce greenhouse gases:

  • Alternative Manure Management Program
  • Healthy Solis Program

If funded, these grants would bring over $5 million to reduce GHG by 4,154 MTeCO2

Support Local Producers

  • Working with local creameries and FEED Sonoma, to develop a dairy CSA box option.
  • Revisit the County Lands for Food Production program initiated by UCCE to increase the availability of county owned land to communities, farmers and ranchers.
  • Find Local Food & Aid the Community

Follow us @UCCESonoma

Providing information and updates. 

Coronavirus Resources webpages provides information for agricultural enterprises focusing on financial resources, Ag worker safety and food safety and includes resources for where to find food from local farms and for opportunities to volunteer.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and alerts.

Follow our social media posts about coronavirus grant opportunities, resources, workshops and more on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @UCCESonoma.

By Stephanie Larson
Author - County Director and Livestock Range Management Advisor
By Karen Giovannini
Contributor - Agriculture Ombudsman

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