Heather Nichols

Heather Nichols, Executive Director

Heather Nichols graduated from CSU Humboldt with a B.S. in Sustainable Systems and a minor in Soil Science. She gained experience in small scale agriculture and habitat restoration as an AmeriCorps volunteer and went on to complete her Master’s degree in ecological design and planning from the Conway School of Landscape Design. Heather joined the YCRCD in 2008 and worked as a watershed coordinator and project manager before becoming the Executive Director in 2014. She works with the YCRCD Board of Directors and staff, NRCS and other conservation leaders in the community and region to develop and carry out relevant and effective conservation projects and programs. She also serves as the district manager representative for the Northern California region on the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts Board of Directors.

Tanya Meyer, Program Manager

Tanya Meyer has been working on restoring native plant communities and protecting them from invasive weeds since 2000. She has a BS and an MS in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis. Tanya has worked at Hedgerow Farms, managed the Center for Land-Based Learning’s SLEWS Program in Northern California, and worked at the YCRCD as a vegetation management specialist/Weed Warrior controlling tamarisk and other noxious weeds along Cache Creek in the Capay Valley. Her current projects are focused on arundo eradication and creek restoration in the Putah-Cache Watersheds and leading the renewal of the Yolo County Weed Management Area. Tanya also services on the board of the California Invasive Plant Council.

Amy Williams

Amy Williams, Project Manager

Amy has a background in natural resource monitoring, habitat restoration, native plant propagation, and GIS. She was previously the Stewardship Program Manager for Putah Creek Council, working with multiple stakeholders to restore native habitat in the watershed, and helped manage a native plant nursery. She holds a B.S. in Biology from Texas Wesleyan University and an M.A. in Geography from UC Davis, having used GIS to study the spatial distribution of riparian forest species along the middle Sacramento River. Amy is leading habitat and vegetation management projects in the Delta and a number of open space projects in the City of Davis and City of Winters.

Brandon Baker

Brandon Baker, Field Technician

Brandon Baker started working as a field technician for the YCRCD in 2013 and brings his extensive expertise to all of YCRCD’s restoration implementation projects. Before joining the YCRCD team, he worked for Public Works at the City of Woodland managing open space property. Brandon has over 20 years of extensive experience implementing and maintaining conservation projects on working lands, having worked for Audubon California Landowner Stewardship Program and Center for Land Based Learning in the past. He leads stewardship field days with our environmental education partners including the Center for Land-Based Learning and Putah Creek Council. He also assists Solano County Water Agency with their large scale habitat improvement projects.

Bailey Adams

Bailey Adams, Field Manager

Bailey came to the YCRCD after she earned her B.S in Environmental Science and Management with an emphasis in ecology, biodiversity and conservation. She has a background in habitat restoration, invasive weed management, and vegetation mapping. Prior to coming to the YCRCD, she worked at the Cache Creek Conservancy enhancing wildlife habitat on the nature preserve through integrated vegetation management, native plantings and improving creek health with tamarisk and arundo control. Bailey’s work at the Yolo County RCD focuses on managing the field staff and enhancing projects in Woodland and Capay through native plantings and weed control. She is also currently assisting with arundo eradication throughout the Putah-Cache Watershed.

Grace Ferguson

Grace Ferguson, Project Assistant

Grace came to the YCRCD in 2020 after earning her BS from UC Berkeley, majoring in Conservation and Resource Studies with a focus on California Ecology and Ecosystem Management. She started working with the RCD as a  GrizzlyCorps Fellow, an AmeriCorps program at UC Berkeley focusing on promoting sustainable agriculture and forestry. As a GrizzlyCorps Fellow, she assisted on a variety of projects in the field while working to build long term capacity for the RCD. Following the end of her service year, she began working as a Project Assistant. In this new role, she has been helping to manage grazing and ag leases at both the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and Grasslands Regional Park while continuing to assist in general field activities. 

Sue McCloud, Financial Manager

Sue McCloud joined the YCRCD in 2002.  She has over 40 years of accounting management experience. Sue is responsible for everything that has a dollar sign attached to it and is our resident Excel Goddess.  From financial reports and invoicing to budgets, audits, payables and payroll, Sue has her finger on the pulse of the YCRCD.  She now works remotely from Idaho but you can still reach her by email.

Kenya Oto, Field Technician

Kenya joined the YCRCD in 2020 after studying Environmental Science and Management with an emphasis in ecology, biodiversity and conservation at UC Davis. During his time there, he served as a restoration intern with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Gardens on the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve. Kenya assists with field operations and vegetation management on the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area’s Corridors and other YCRCD conservation projects.

Greg Pelaez, Project Assistant

Greg recently earned a degree in Ecological Management and Restoration from UC Davis, and since then has worked for a UC Davis Hydrology Lab studying water storage throughout California and an Ecology Lab studying post-fire field data collection. He has recently joined YCRCD as a project assistant and will be assisting Tanya Meyer with the Arundo eradication project within the Putah-Cache watershed.

Maria Meza, Office Manager

Maria Meza graduated from CSU Sacramento with a B.S. in Accounting. She gained her experience working at a prior non-profit organization, the Yolo County Court and managed multiple family-owned businesses. Maria joined the Yolo County RCD in 2021 and has over 15 years of management experience. She works closely with the Executive Director and Finance Manager on many administrative, HR and finance activities.  

Kate Reza, Program Manager

Kate has worked in the natural resources field in Northern California since 2003. She has extensive experience in collaborative natural resources management, water supply and water quality issues, outreach to and inclusion of disadvantaged communities, grant writing, and climate adaptation planning. Kate joined YCRCD in September 2021 and her role includes grant and funding acquisition and coordination and support for the Westside Sacramento Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP) Coordinating Committee. She splits her time between the Yolo County RCD and her consultancy, where she provides technical writing and research services to consultants, governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations. She holds an MS in Ecology from UC Davis.

Joaquin Pastrana, GrizzlyCorps Fellow

Joaquin recently graduated from UC Merced with a degree in Public Health and is currently employed as a fellow through GrizzlyCorps, a joint program between UC Berkeley and Americorps that sends college graduates into rural communities to promote regenerative agriculture and forest resilience. Joaquin is stationed at Yolo RCD for the 2021-2022 service year where he will be working alongside Tanya Meyer assisting her with the Yolo County Fire Safe Council along with updating the RCD’s website and social media pages. During his time with Yolo RCD Joaquin hopes to gain valuable experience in areas including GIS, wildfire mitigation practices, and ecological field techniques.