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Our Staff

Alli Permann, Outreach Coordinator

Alli earned a B.S. in Environmental Science and Management from UC Davis with an emphasis in Natural Resource Management. Since then, Alli worked as the Education and Outreach Manager at Putah Creek Council where she implemented environmental education programs and volunteer stewardship events that engaged community members in the local watershed. As YCRCD’s Outreach Coordinator, she works on engagement, education, and outreach for all of the RCD’s programs. She also assists in the coordination of the RCD’s Community Wildfire Program including the Yolo County Fire Safe Council and the Yolo Prescribed Burn Association. 

Amanda Farnsworth, Field Technician

Amanda recently earned her A.S. in Environmental Conservation from American River College in Sacramento, and is currently enrolled in her final year at Sacramento State where she is finishing up her B.S. in Environmental Studies. Prior to joining the Yolo County RCD, Amanda began her career in restoration working for the city of Davis Open Space Program as a field technician for 2 years following a semester as a student intern. She also worked as a student intern and volunteer with the Effie Yeaw Nature in Sacramento where she assisted with planning and implementing several restoration projects.

Amy Williams

Amy Williams, Project Manager

Amy has a background in natural resource monitoring, habitat restoration, and geographic information systems (GIS). She leads habitat restoration work in parts of Yolo County and the Delta, and oversees GIS and mapping services for the RCD. Amy is also heading up the development of a monitoring framework for the Yolo Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan (HCP/NCCP) administered by the Yolo Habitat Conservancy. She was previously the Stewardship Program Manager for Putah Creek Council, working with multiple stakeholders to propagate local ecotype native plants and restoring habitat in the watershed. She holds a master’s degree in Geography from UC Davis and a B.S. in Biology from Texas Wesleyan University.

Bailey Adams

Bailey Adams, Project 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 enhancing projects in Woodland and Capay through native plantings, weed control, and prescribed fire. She is also currently assisting with arundo eradication throughout the Putah-Cache Watershed and is the coordinator of the Yolo Prescribed Burn Association.

Brandon Baker

Brandon Baker, Restoration Field Lead

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.

Photo of Conor Higgins, RCD Mobile Irrigation Lab Manager

Conor Higgins, Mobile Irrigation Lab Manager

Conor earned a BS in Biology from Penn State and an MS in Ecology from UC Davis where he studied plant and animal community ecology.  At UC Davis, he worked at the UCD Student Farm helping to grow produce for a small-scale market garden CSA.  Before coming to Davis, Conor worked as an ecological research assistant in the field and as a teacher in various capacities. Conor is joining the YCRCD as the manager for the new Mobile Irrigation Lab.

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 region to develop and carry out relevant and effective conservation programs. She serves as the district manager representative for the Northern California region on the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts Board of Directors.

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.

Kenya Oto, Field Manager

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.

Marcy Cathcart, Project Assistant

Marcy graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Ecological Management and Restoration. During her time as an undergraduate she has conducted a pollination research project in the Rocky Mountains, worked at the UC Davis Student Farm and on a restoration crew on the Yuba River. Marcy joins the Yolo County RCD as a Project Assistant, working on restoration and GIS projects in Yolo County and the Delta. 

Matt Toney, Project Manager

Matt graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology. He worked as a fisheries field technician for three years until he landed a position with the United States Geological Survey where he ran a direct thermo-decomposition mercury analyzer,  helped conduct studies regarding mercury on different fish and bird species, and conduct general bird and habitat surveys. At the YCRCD, Matt manages the Yolo Creek and Community Partnership to enhance wildlife habitat through community engagement and education. He also acts as the main liaison between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and their agriculture and grazing lessees within the Yolo Basin Wildlife Area.

Michele Talbott, Controller

Michele Talbott joined Yolo County RCD in 2023 with a degree in Accounting. She has over 35 years of financial and managerial accounting experience including internal control management, budget administration and analysis, staff development and training, and facilitation of internal and external audits. At the RCD, Michele is responsible for all financial activity, reporting, budgeting, audits, payables, receivables, and payroll.

Sue McCloud

Sue McCloud, Financial Manager

Sue McCloud joined Yolo County RCD 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. She has her finger on the pulse of the YCRCD. She now works remotely from Idaho, but you can reach her by her email.

Tanya Meyer, Senior Program Manager

Tanya Meyer has been 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, the Center for Land-Based Learning’s SLEWS Program, and did a watershed wide invasive plant eradication project in Pennsylvania . Her current plant projects are focused on arundo eradication and creek restoration in the Putah-Cache Watersheds and coordinating the Yolo County Weed Management Area. Tanya is also leading the creation of a county-wide Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), and coordinates the Yolo County Fire Safe Council to provide input to the CWPP, support to our community Fire Safe Councils, and education and outreach to county residents in high fire zones.