The Barbed Wire - February 17, 2023

February 17, 2023
Governor Newsom Issues New Executive Order on Drought
Bill of the Week: AB 338 (Aguiar-Curry) – Public works: definition
USDA Announces Climate-Smart Agriculture Funding for Growers, Forestland Owners

Governor Newsom Issues New Executive Order on Drought

On February 13th, Governor Newsom issued a new executive order on drought, in the wake of significant rain events the previous two months. However, even with the precipitation in December 2022 and January 2023, the new drought order made no changes to active provisions from prior drought orders from May and July of 2021 save for two sections: the first on Central Valley deliveries and a minor change to the provision on new groundwater well permitting. 

The first change pertains to the storage and release of supplies from the state reservoir system, known in previous orders as Paragraph 4. The new drought order directs the State Water Board to monitor reservoir and carryover storage levels, as well as upstream and downstream conditions, in order to determine when releases to downstream systems, including project deliveries, are made. The modifications to this section are largely being seen as directing state agencies to store more water in state reservoirs during high precipitation winter events to allow for releases and project deliveries later in the year, should conditions warrant; and to not solely prioritize early releases for the purposes of mitigating saltwater intrusion and providing in-stream flows in the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta during the winter fish spawning season. To date the State and Central Valley projects, while making some deliveries via the two projects, delivery allocations remain but fractions of full contract amounts. 

The new order also makes a minor change to provisions regulating the issuance of new groundwater well permits. Previously, provisions regulating the issuance of new permits—known as Paragraph 9—were interpreted as subjecting replacement wells to its requirements. The new executive order explicitly exempts some replacement wells from the rules in Paragraph 9 so long as the replacement well is producing an equivalent amount of water as the well it is replacing, and only when the existing well is being replaced because it was acquired by eminent domain or under threat of condemnation. All other provisions under Paragraph 9 remain in effect. 

The new drought order also directs state agencies to report further recommended actions to the administration by April 28, 2023. Short of extraordinary spring rainfall and snowpack, the new order will presumably remain in effect through the remainder of this water year. The text of the executive order can be found here.

Bill of the Week: AB 338 (Aguiar-Curry) – Public works: definition

RCRC opposes Assembly Bill 338, authored by Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Davis), as introduced. This measure would change the definition of public works to include fuels reduction projects done under contract, thereby requiring prevailing wage for projects paid for in part or whole by public funds. The bill was passed by the Legislature in 2022 as Assembly Bill 1717 but was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom.  

Wildfire risk mitigation is of paramount importance to RCRC member counties, many of which rely on state and federal grant dollars to complete crucial fuels treatment projects to safeguard communities. Many rural communities also struggle with housing and workforce development issues and depend almost wholly on public funds so that fire safe councils, community collaboratives and other local organizations can work with local governments to utilize the available local workforce to maximize their scarce resources to provide community fuels treatment projects.  

While well-intended, AB 338 could have the unintended consequence of putting small, local contractors out of business by requiring payment of prevailing wage for fuels treatment work paid for by public grant dollars and other public funds, leaving local agencies reliant on a small pool of large, out-of-area contractors to complete projects. AB 338 as written will slow the pace and scale of fuels treatment and drive up project costs while ultimately shrinking local available jobs without a substantial commitment by the state to increase investments in forest resilience grant programs, particularly in disadvantaged communities.  

AB 338 has been referred to the Assembly Labor and Employment committee. RCRC’s letter of opposition is available here. For more information, please contact RCRC Senior Policy Advocate, Staci Heaton.  

USDA Announces Climate-Smart Agriculture Funding for Growers, Forestland Owners

Earlier this week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the availability of $19.5 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funding for a number of agricultural and forestland programs to promote “climate-smart” growing practices. The programs with additional funding available are administered by the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), with focus on practices like cover cropping, conservation tillage, wetland restoration, prescribed grazing, nutrient management, tree planting and more.

The application deadline for EQIP and CSP projects is March 17, 2023 for California producers. Applications for all other programs are accepted year-round. For more information, visit the NRCS website.


Announcements regarding hearings, grants, and public comment notices of importance to California's rural counties.


Training: Land Use Planning for Wildfire (Free!) 

The Board of Forestry and Fire Protection announces the launch of the CAL FIRE / Office of the State Fire Marshal’s Introduction to Land Use Planning for Wildfires in California Trainings.  

These free, all-day, in person trainings are open to land use planners, fire marshals, fire chiefs, fire mitigation specialists, building officials, and other professionals from government agencies and the private sector engaged in planning, policy, development review and/or approval activities in California. 

The following is a list of upcoming trainings across the state. 

  • March 7, 2023 – Roseville 
  • March 9, 2023 – Morgan Hill 
  • April 18, 2023 – Del Rey 
  • April 20, 2023 – Los Osos 

Space is limited. For more information and to register, see here

view flyer


Upcoming PG&E Wildfire Safety Webinars

PG&E hosts online webinars throughout each year for anyone who is interested in learning more about the Community Wildfire Safety Program. These virtual gatherings allow community members to learn more about wildfire safety and emergency preparedness, meet with PG&E representatives, ask questions and share feedback. For anyone who is not able to join a live webinar, presentations and video recordings of our past webinars are available on the PG&E website here

The next webinar is scheduled for February 21, 2023 -  North Valley & Sierra Town Hall
Counties served: North Valley & Sierra Region: Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sutter, Tehama, Yolo, Yuba

Join webinar 
Attendee Dial In: 1-888-790-3409
Conference ID: 5452678

For a full list of upcoming webinars, see here.


County of Shasta Invites Responses to RFP 23-19 for Health Officer Services

The County of Shasta, California invites responses to Request for Proposals (RFP) 23-19 to provide Health Officer services to preserve and protect the public health of the County.  Any contracted Health Officer must be available full time to provide medical oversight and expertise to Public Health’s programs and services, work with state and local Public Health leadership and community partners to control and prevent the spread of communicable disease, chronic disease and injury, and promote health and wellbeing in Shasta County.

A non-mandatory Responder’s Conference is scheduled for 2pm on March 1, 2023, at 1450 Court Street, Suite 352, Redding, CA 96001.

RFP Closing Date: March 10, 2023 at 2pm.

GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL ONLINE at, or visit 1450 Court Street, Suite 348, Redding CA 96001.

Contact Leticia Swanson at 530-229-8244 or with any questions.


Career Opportunities

Mendocino County

  • The County of Mendocino is seeking an Emergency Services Coordinator to oversee the function of an Operational Area Office of Emergency Services. The final filing date is March 17, 2023. For full job description and to apply, prospective candidates should visit  here.

Sierra County

  • The County of Sierra is seeking a Director of Health and Social Services, responsible for the management and administration of Department of Health and Social Services.  A full description and qualifications are available here. For more information, visit the county website here or call (530) 289-2879.
  • The Sierra County Department of Transportation is recruiting for a Transportation Planner II or III, depending on qualifications. This position is open until filled. For more information, see the county website here or call 530-289-2879

Tuolumne County

  • The County of Tuolumne is seeking qualified candidates for Chief Deputy Assistant County Clerk & Auditor-Controller, a Chief Deputy Assistant department head who will have primary supervision and administrative oversight of the department and may assume full responsibility of the office in the absence of the County Clerk & Auditor Controller.  Requires bachelor’s degree in accounting or related and to meet one (1) of four (4) additional qualifications as outlined in the full job announcement. Please visit  Salary range: $10,455 - $12,709 /mo. Closes Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. EOE

  • Tuolumne County Public Works is seeking an experienced integrated waste professional with extensive knowledge of environmental regulations and compliance to oversee the collection, transportation and disposal of solid waste and hazardous materials, provide public outreach and training, promote recycling programs, maintain two closed landfills, and negotiate and monitor contracts for environmental and landfill services. The Director of Solid Waste, as a key member of the management team, will oversee a staff of four and provide expert advice and support to the Director, Board members, and the community.  Bachelor’s degree and three years’ experience in solid waste management with two years at a supervisory or higher level. Flexible schedule 90/8 or 20%-40% telework considered for right candidate. Position is open until filled. EOE For additional details, see here.

Yolo County

  • The County of Yolo is seeking an innovative, forward thinking, and politically astute executive leader to become the new Director of Community Services. The annual salary range for the Director of Community Services position is $173,396 - $210,764, depending upon experience and qualifications. The County of Yolo also offers an attractive benefits package. For more information, or to apply online visit the website of Bob Murray & Associates here. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Gary Phillips at (916) 784-9080. Filing Deadline: March 5, 2023.

  • The County of Yolo is currently recruiting for the position of Director, Integrated Waste Division. To learn more about the position and application process, please click here. Apply no later than February 24, 2023.

  • The County of Yolo is recruiting to fill one (1) regular, full-time position in the class of Public Information Officer (PIO) at the County Administrator's Office. The role of the Public Information Officer is to manage the County’s communications with the public through press releases, social media, videos, live media and the County website. The PIO informs and engages the community and other stakeholders regarding County activities, services, and strategies.  The PIO also functions as the County Spokesperson which requires knowledge of County programs and policies. As a member of the County Emergency Operations Center personnel, the PIO also acts in a lead capacity in disseminating information during an emergency. The full job announcement can be found here. This position is open until filled.


CMSP Offering Healthcare Infrastructure Development Matching Grant

The CMSP Healthcare Infrastructure Development Matching Grant program (HID Matching Grant) will help CMSP counties and non-profits contracted with CMSP counties to expand their physical capacity to provide healthcare and behavioral health services by providing required local level match funds for state, federal or other infrastructure grants.  Up to $10 Million may be awarded!  Awards range up to $500,000 for projects serving a single CMSP county and up to $ 1,000,000 for projects serving multiple CMSP counties. HID Matching Grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, beginning February 1, 2023 through June 1, 2023.   Applications will be considered as they are received and will be submitted to the Governing Board for consideration at an upcoming regularly scheduled public meeting of the Board. Completed applications must be submitted to by June 1, 2023. To learn full program details and requirements, or to download an application, visit the CMSP website here.


Institute for Local Government Launches New Digital Planning Commissioner Handbook & Regional Trainings

The Institute for Local Government (ILG) recently released an updated version of their Planning Commissioners Handbook. This handbook is designed to support planning commissioners, their staff, and other officials interested in land use and planning; to help local officials understand the planning process; and provide a glimpse of some potential planning challenges commissioners may experience during their terms. The handbook describes the major terms, plans, and policies that make up the framework of local planning, as well as typical stakeholders in the process and the basics of reviewing applications for development.

In conjunction with this release, ILG is hosting regional training sessions for planning commissioners. These interactive sessions will take place in person at various locations throughout the state and will cover topics such as the role of a planning commission, how to work effectively with staff and the governing board, effective community engagement, CEQA basics, required planning documents, and local and regional planning challenges and opportunities. Each session will give participants the opportunity to engage with experts in the field and fellow planning commissioners to hear best practices, emerging trends, and lessons learned. All sessions are FREE but space is limited and registration is required. Find a full schedule and register here.

Next Training: Shasta, Trinity, Siskiyou, Lassen, Plumas and Modoc Counties, February 24, 2023


Access the State Grants Portal for a Multitude of Funding Opportunities

Billions of dollars are up for grabs to public agencies and other entities, including tribes and businesses. Grant seekers can access a centralized portal of grant and loan opportunities here, or sign up to receive new grant opportunities delivered straight to your inbox


RCRC press releases and related news clips about RCRC and our member counties. Please note that a subscription may be required to read some external publications.


Half of California Hospitals Are in the Red': Pandemic Troubles Pile Up for ERs – KQED

In Madera County near Yosemite, the area’s only general hospital closed in January. That left 150,000 residents without an emergency room or specialty care, and many of the hospital’s 700 employees without a job. State lawmakers and industry officials warn many more facilities will be forced to reduce services and some will shutter.


Newsom suspends environmental laws to store more water – CalMatters

Facing criticism that stormwater flowed out to sea, the governor asked the water board to waive rules designed to protect salmon and other endangered fish. Environmentalists call it “a breakdown of law and order” while growers laud it as a way to ensure more water is delivered this year.


Frequent wildfires more likely to hit low-income communities, new report finds CapRadio

A new report authored by Stanford and University of North Carolina researchers found that areas experiencing frequent wildfires tend to be low-income. The communities found in the “high-hazard” places identified by the tool are often wealthier. But when looking at areas that face frequent wildfires, this report offers a different perspective.


Information related to the current status of legislation impacting California’s rural counties.

AB 78   (Ward)   Grand juries.     Location: Assembly Public Safety   Status: 2/2/2023-Referred to Com. on PUB. S.   Position:   Oppose   Staff:  Sarah (1)

AB 297   (Fong, Vince)   Wildfires: local assistance grant program: advance payments.     Location: Assembly Natural Resources   Status: 2/2/2023-Referred to Com. on NAT. RES.   Position:   Support   Staff:  Staci (1)

AB 324   (Pacheco)   Gas corporations: renewable gas procurement.     Location: Assembly U. & E.   Status: 2/9/2023-Referred to Coms. on U. & E. and NAT. RES.   Position:   Watch   Staff:  John (1)

AB 338   (Aguiar-Curry)   Public works: definition.     Location: Assembly Labor and Employment   Status: 2/9/2023-Referred to Com. on L. & E.   Position:   Oppose   Staff:  Staci (1)

AB 340   (Fong, Vince)   California Environmental Quality Act: grounds for noncompliance.     Location: Assembly Natural Resources   Status: 2/9/2023-Referred to Coms. on NAT. RES. and JUD.   Position:   Pending   Staff:  John (1)

AB 538   (Holden)   Multistate regional transmission system organization: membership.     Location: Assembly Print   Status: 2/9/2023-From printer. May be heard in committee March 11.   Position:   Watch   Staff:  John (1)

SB 35   (Umberg)   Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Court Program.     Location: Senate Rules   Status: 1/18/2023-Referred to Com. on RLS.   Position:   Pending   Staff:  Sarah (1)

SB 642   (Cortese)   Hazardous materials: enforcement: county counsel.     Location: Senate Rules   Status: 2/16/2023-Introduced. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment. To print.   Position:   Sponsor   Staff:  John (1)