Q&A: New executive director talks about Placer County Resource Conservation District

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The Journal asked new Placer County Resource Conservation District Executive Director Elisa Noble to provide some perspective on herself and the district. Here are her responses:


1. What does the Resource Conservation District do?

The Resource Conservation District mission is to conserve agriculture and natural resources in the county. We are not a regulatory agency, but instead assist landowners and local entities who voluntarily want to engage in conservation. The district is available to provide technical assistance to landowners in areas such as soil erosion control and irrigation water management, regardless of whether they farm 100 acres or own a home in town.


2.     Tell us a little about yourself?

I started in January as the executive director of the Placer County Resource Conservation District. Prior to this position, I was a federal policy director at the California Farm Bureau for eight years, where I managed federal issues related to livestock, public lands, and natural resources. I’m currently participating in Class 42 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, a two-year fellowship for agriculture and natural resource professionals. I hold an M.S. in Agricultural Policy/Agricultural Education from Texas A&M University. I also hold a B.S. in Agricultural Systems and the Environment and a minor in Animal Science from the University of California, Davis.

I enjoy sports and playing soccer, in particular. I had the opportunity to coach a girls’ youth soccer team during my time in Texas. In my leisure time, I enjoy reading as well as walking, hiking, gardening, or otherwise being outdoors, as well as spending time with family and friends.

Originally from Yreka, California, I currently reside in Sacramento with my sweet rescue dog Bailey.


3.     The district has a book donation program. How does it work?

The National Association of Conservation Districts coordinates an annual “Pack a Book” event as part of the organization’s annual conference. “Pack a Book” is a community outreach project where districts donate books, posters, and other educational materials to local elementary schools. Placer district board member Claudia Smith brought the idea back from national conference, and the Placer County district donated books with natural resource themes to Auburn Elementary School.


4.     The resource conservation district has its roots in the depression of the 1930s. How and why did it come about?

In response to the national “Dust Bowl” crisis of the 1930’s, the federal government passed legislation in 1937 establishing the Soil Conservation Service. However, Congress quickly realized that only active, voluntary support from local, private landowners would guarantee the success of conservation work on private land. So, Soil Conservation Districts were set up under state law to be controlled by local boards of directors. California’s enabling legislation was enacted in 1938, and the Placer County Resource Conservation District was established in 1946. The Conservation Service eventually became the Natural Resources Conservation Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and districts such as Placer County’s continue to have strong partnerships with this agency.


5. What is the role of the district in Placer County?

The district is actively involved in a number of partnerships to address fire protection and fuels reduction, which is a major issue of concern in the county. We also provide a low-cost curbside chipping service to help landowners convert brush piles and other biomass into small biodegradable chips useful for mulching or landscaping.

Other district efforts include a range of programs, such as hedgerows that support native pollinators, stream sediment control, watershed restoration, fish and wildlife habitat, sustainable local farms, and open space.

The district plays an important role in the county as a liaison between many state and federal partners and our local entities. We partner with a variety of agencies, organizations, and community groups to efficiently address the conservation of agriculture and natural resources.