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Who We Are

Mission Statement: The Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District is committed to protecting and enhancing natural resources through education, restoration, conservation, and collaboration with local stakeholders.

What is a Resource Conservation District?

Resource Conservation Districts (RCD) across California serve as local hubs for conservation, connecting people with the technical, financial and educational assistance they need to conserve and manage natural resources. A defining characteristic of RCDs is that we provide non-regulatory, confidential, free assistance.

RCDs are established under California law to be locally governed with independent boards of directors that are accountable to our communities. Our relationships with the communities we serve and their trust are critical to how we accomplish our work.

RCDs are not part of County government. We are special districts, a form of local government created by the community to meet a specific need such as conserving water resources, sustaining agriculture or flood control. RCDs help meet the need for voluntary resource conservation.

As trusted stewards of public and private funds, RCDs are subject to transparency and accountability laws that require public meetings, open records, annual audits and financial reporting.

How does the RCD operate in San Luis Obispo County?

Though we are a special district, we do not receive an annual local tax base. We rely heavily on grants, service contracts and private donations to deliver our mission. Seven non-salaried directors are appointed by the County Board of Supervisors and function independently of County government. The district covers more than 463,024 acres along the coastal communities from Morro Bay south to Oso Flaco and including San Luis Obispo.

What does the RCD do in San Luis Obispo County?

We provide comprehensive, integrated services addressing wildlife, water, climate and agriculture.

We use diverse means to protect, conserve and restore natural resources. Serving as a focal point for local conservation efforts, we collaborate with private and public land owners, land managers, public agencies, interest groups and others.

Those who live, farm or play on the San Luis Obispo County coast know that it is a special place that balances the demands of many competing interests. Resource management involves a wide variety of stakeholders. The RCD often serves as an essential liaison between these groups, aiming for win-win solutions in our service to the community.

Protecting water quality, restoring fish and wildlife habitat, conserving water resources and fighting the drought, sustaining agriculture, working to reverse climate change and helping communities adapt to a changing climate— these are some of the ways the RCD serves people, nature and agriculture in San Luis Obispo County.

What is the history of the RCD?

In 1935, the federal government passed the Soil Conservation Act in response to the devastation of the Dust Bowl. The Act was passed to form the Soil Conservation Service (later renamed the Natural Resources Conservation Services) to provide conservation assistance to ranchers, farmers and other private landowners. Conservationists quickly realized that a centrally governed federal agency in Washington could not be as responsive to local needs, so local counterparts of the Soil Conservation Service were set up under state law to be controlled by local boards of directors. And so was born the Soil Conservation Districts, now known as Resource Conservation Districts.

The Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District (CSLRCD) began as the Arroyo Grande Resource Conservation District and was established in 1953. Charter members were Edwin M. Taylor, Manuel F. Silva, Ed Campodonica, Keith A. Rapp and Lester Sullivan. The flooding of farmland from Arroyo Grande Creek was a yearly occurrence, and these farmers worked tirelessly to solve the problem.

Since then, the CSLRCD has expanded its area to include Nipomo Mesa and Oso Flaco Lake to the south, and Morro Bay to the north.

CSLRCD Boundary Map

CSLRCD Boundary Map- with watersheds outlined