Carbon Farming

The Marin RCD provides farmers and ranchers with financial and technical assistance leading to the implementation of carbon beneficial practices for our Carbon Farming Program. Since 2008, the RCD has been directly involved in carbon sequestration research with our Marin Carbon Project partnership to investigate the carbon sequestration potential of local farming practices. This work is expected to enable farmers and ranchers to help Marin County achieve carbon neutrality and, in turn, enhance the sustainability of agriculture.

The program started with three demonstration carbon farms in 2013 and this year the program has expanded! In 2016 our partnership will be developing eight Carbon Farm Plans with twelve more planned in the following two years thanks to funding provided by the CA State Coastal Conservancy Climate Ready Program, 11th Hour Foundation and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

How were those farms selected?

  • All farms in Marin County were sent a solicitation notice asking them if they wanted to be a demonstration Carbon Farm
  • Interested farms were visited by a Technical Advisory Committee who ranked the projects with a selection criteria. The selection criteria included but was not limited to the farm’s ability to message and transfer the goals of the project and the carbon sequestration potential of the farm.

The intention of this project is to follow suit with the greater Marin Carbon Project which is actively working to:

  • ensure a fair price for sequestered soil carbon for local farmers and ranchers who want to incorporate carbon farming on their land
  • retain financial, environmental, and social benefits from Marin County soil sequestration within the community,
  • maximize the environmental benefits of Marin soil carbon projects,
  • create accountability and awareness of climate change issues,
  • ensure sustainability of local food production,
  • build strong rural-urban links,
  • create a powerful educational resource, and
  • renew optimism about the potential for positive impacts through informed actions.

To learn more about the project, partners and groundbreaking news go to: or contact us if you would like to participate!


Conserving Our Watersheds

The Marin RCD coordinates several restoration projects annually via the Conserving Our Watersheds (COW) Program to promote and support the advancement of water quality improvements within the district’s watershed boundaries including Tomales Bay, Lagunitas, Stemple, and Walker Creek Watersheds. The 4th phase of the COW program is also assisting landowners in the Novato Creek Watershed and the San Antonio Creek Watershed (Marin  & Sonoma Counties).

streambank restoration_before_barboni
     Streambank Repair Before                 Streambank Repair After

The West Marin agricultural community has actively implemented projects with the Marin RCD since the 1960s. Successful partnerships have formed between local, state and federal funders, and agricultural producers who have found commonality in restoration goals. Years of practical experience and trust have led to comprehensive watershed enhancement projects. Some outcomes of completed projects include increases in birds and anadromous fish at restored sites. In recent years, the Marin RCD culminated this effort into one program entitled the Conserving Our Watersheds (COW) Program.

The goal of the COW program is to support agriculture and the environment by implementing successful voluntary environmental improvements on agricultural lands in West Marin’s watersheds. The objective is to reduce fine sediment delivery by 75-95% for repairs to headcuts, gullies and streambanks; and to reduce fine sediment delivery by 50-75% for riparian fencing and revegetation projects.  Another important goal is to continue to build excellent stewardship practices into the everyday work of ranching and farming in west Marin County. This is accomplished by providing private landowners and agricultural producers with:

  1. project planning and permitting assistance,
  2. technical/engineering expertise,
  3. construction contractors, and
  4. maintenance and monitoring assistance.

The COW program utilizes the Marin Coastal Watersheds Permit Coordination Program (PCP), which provides coordinated regulatory review for implementation. Seventeen (17) types of conservation and restoration practices are intended for grazing lands to reduce erosion, enhance aquatic and terrestrial habitat and assist ranchers with sound stewardship in the Marin County coastal watersheds.

Projects are selected through a process that has proven highly successful for other recent Marin RCD grant programs:  First, landowners and local groups submit candidate projects through an open proposal process. Second, a Technical Advisory Committee visits, reviews and ranks the projects, and then make recommendations to the Marin RCD Board for approval.

The implementation of management practices are designed to have a significant beneficial effect on the environment and ecological processes within the watershed.

  1. Reduce erosion and sedimentation to improve important spawning areas & reduce sedimentation of estuarine habitats.
  2. Reduce pathogen concentrations entering the watershed by fencing out stream corridors thereby improving waters for recreational uses.
  3. Planting along streams to cool stream temperatures for wildlife habitat & provide improved habitats for threatened & endangered species.
  4. Reduce runoff pollution by fencing out riparian areas, installing biotechnical streambank repairs, planting stream corridors & repairing gully erosion.
  5. Improve upstream grazing lands to indirectly improve water quality at nearby beaches, estuaries & coastal waters by reducing pathogens, E. coli, sediments and nutrients.

Here are two examples of completed projects. Click on a project title to read the Project Description that captures the project from start to finish.

Fence, Road Improvements, Culvert Replacement & Repair


Fence & Water Development


If you would like to participate in the COW program please contact the Marin RCD at (415) 663-1170.

  • California State Water Resources Control Board
  • California State Coastal Conservancy
  • California Department of Water Resources

Urban Streams


news- smaller


Resources logo

Urban Streams Coordination

The Urban Streams Coordinator (USC) position was created as a result of the Stream Conservation Area Ordinance. The role of the USC is to provide support and assistance to the residents that live along Marin County’s creeks through educational workshops, presentations, watershed tours and site visits that can result in targeted restoration actions. The USC will work with County departments; Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program ( MCSTOPPP), Marin Watershed Program, Community Development Agency, Department of Public Works in addition to the various watershed and neighborhood organizations and associations. Through collaborative efforts with local, state and federal regulatory agencies, the USC will guide property owners through the challenging permitting process when applying for projects that include development and/or restoration along the creeks of Marin. Finally the USC will act as the liaison between the various stakeholders, facilitating communication among all parties.

Attention: Green Waste Days at West Marin Compost

The 2015 free green waste drop off dates have ended. Stay tuned for 2016 dates. This is your opportunity for free and safe disposal of green waste yard materials such as branches, grass and light brush. No building materials. They are located at 5575 Nicasio Valley Road and can be reached by phone at 415 662 9849. Check out their webpage to learn more about West Marin Compost, Click HERE!

Attention: Household Hazardous Waste, Universal Waste, Bulb & Battery Take Back Program

There are drop-off facilities provided through Marin County’s Department of Public Works for residents of Marin County that may bring paint, adhesives, motor oil, pesticides, household batteries, light bulbs, latex paint, computer monitors, televisions, household electronics, and bleach cleaners to the facility free of charge. Click HERE to learn about specific locations for drop-offs. Residential Customers: Thursday – Saturday, 8am – 3:30pm. Call ahead for details. 565 Jacoby St., San Rafael Residential (415) 485-6806. 

Attending a Watershed Work Day with Green Gulch Zen Center in December, 2014 conducting restoration on a tributary to Redwood Creek, near Muir Beach.
Restoration in progress at the Green Gulch Zen Center in December, 2014



Sarah Phillips attending a Gallinas Creek watershed tour by Judy Shriebman from the Gallinas Watershed Council in November, 2014.
Judy and Sarah.for web
Photo Credit to Alex Kahl


Joining Trout Unlimited’s North Bay Chapter during a release of Trout in the Classroom into Bon Tempe Reservoir in April, 2015.

Eager for Their New Home
A Bittersweet Farewell