Cache Creek Conservancy

Woodland, CA   |  www.cachecreekconservancy.org

Mission

The Cache Creek Conservancy (CCC) preserves, restores, enhances and promotes stream environment stewardship within the Cache Creek watershed. The site was a gravel mine prior to restoration and is now a prime example of how to restore environmental beauty and provide opportunities for people to encounter native wildlife and plants. The Nature Preserve has five habitat types: oak savannah, native grassland, riparian forest, wetlands, and a Native American garden. The CCC implements Yolo County's Cache Creek Area Plan to restore riparian and native vegetation along 15 miles of Cache Creek. Our Education program for K-12 students includes hands-on learning experiences that support State's science and social science standards, including an extensive Native American component.

Ruling year info

1996

Executive Director

Mrs. Nancy Ullrey

Main address

PO Box 8249

Woodland, CA 95776 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

68-0374372

NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Cache Creek Conservancy restores, protects, and enhances the Cache Creek watershed which has undergone environmental degradation from various land use practices, invasive weeds, and the effects of climate change. Landscape level challenges include developing a resilient plant palette to sustain native wildlife in light of a varying water supply (e.g., drought) and impacts from changing land uses (e.g., development). Educating school age and live-long learners is an important part of our restoration effort as well. We believe that experiencing natural landscapes and being outdoors is essential to healthy living and work hard to restore the sights and sounds of nature.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Restoration

The CCC is dedicated to restoring the lower part of Cache Creek working under a plan adopted by Yolo County.  We “put the plan on the ground,” and manage the project including permitting, site analysis, funding and financial management, procurement of supplies and labor, implementation, and final reporting. This program includes ecosystem restoration and conservation; preserving historical buildings on the property; and managing a visitor and education center. This program also includes restoring native vegetation and illustrating the link between environmental conservation and working landscapes. “From gravel to green” is a phrase that describes the history of the Nature Preserve site: after 100 years as a working farm and sheep ranch, it became a gravel mine, and was restored 20 years ago into the Cache Creek Nature Preserve. Two historic barns are in need of restoration, the large barn is about 100 years old. The CCNP hopes to build a larger visitors center that celebrates the indigenous patwin, pioneers, farmers, miners, and ecologists whose lives are entwined with the creek.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

The CCC’s Experience the Creek environmental education program is offered to schools and other visitors to the Cache Creek Nature Preserve. This comprehensive environmental education experience focuses on the ecology, culture, and history of the Cache Creek watershed. Our environmental education team, mostly former K-12 teachers, work to help teachers meet the State’s Next Generation Science Standard curriculum providing hands-on experiences that teachers cannot accomplish in the classroom. Teachers choose from a variety of hands-on learning activities conducted on the Nature Preserve grounds.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Young adults

The Tending and Gathering Garden (TGG), on the grounds of the Cache Creek Nature Preserve, is a collaborative effort between the Native American community and the CCC to demonstrate traditional land and plant management practices of California’s native people. This 3-acre site was restored with culturally significant native plants found within the Cache Creek watershed. These plants are used for basketry, food, fiber, shelter, medicine, and watercraft. The TGG serves as a source for cultural practitioners to gather plant material. It also provides a place for hands-on education including plant identification, plant use, and traditional management methods. These horticultural practices include pruning, coppicing (cutting a plant back to the ground), hand-weeding, irrigating, and burning. No chemical pesticides are used in the TGG.

Population(s) Served
Tribal and indigenous religious groups
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Education Award 2011

Soil and Water Conservation Society

2011 Steward the Natural Environment Award 2011

Yocha Dehe Community Fund

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The mission of the CCC is to preserve, restore, enhance, and promote the stewardship of lands within the Cache Creek watershed. We accomplish this mission with activities in three major areas; restoration, land management, and education/outreach.

Restoration activities include the removal of non-native plants, revegetation with native plants, and monitoring the success of these actions. Our goal in the next five years is less than 5% of ground cover attributed to non-native species. Revegetation will include planting a variety of appropriate natives. The long term outcome of restoration is a sustainable riparian corridor of diverse native plants providing habitat for wildlife.

Land management activities involve the 130 acre Cache Creek Nature Preserve owned by Yolo County and managed by CCC as an area that provides a sanctuary for wildlife as well as a site for people to experience nature along Cache Creek. This site has been enhanced with public amenities such as trails, a boardwalk in the wetlands, visitor center, and restored barn for gatherings. Restoration of much of the site has occurred, the goals for the next five years will be to maintain the existing native flora and enhance approximately 40 acres of riparian corridor by removal of invasive weeds followed by planting of native plants. The outcome will be a Preserve that is fully restored with a flourishing palette of native plants, thereby resulting in an enhanced streamside environment.

The CCC manages approximately 100 acres of other lands owned by Yolo County. These sites are currently not open to public use, and maintenance consists primarily of weed control. Yolo County is working on a long term strategy to allow some limited public access. The goals for the next five years will include the development of an overall plan for these properties, better wildlife habitat resulting from weed control and natural recruitment of native plants, and limited public access trails in certain areas. An important outcome from all these activities will be the development and/or enhancement of the continuous habitat corridor thereby providing greater shade for the creek fishery, better passageway for wildlife, and improved nesting and foraging for birds. A second outcome is additional public access to natural areas.

Education and outreach goals are two-fold; one is to increase the number of students and adults who participate in the various activities/programs/workshops offered by CCC. The second is to continually improve the quality of the programming, including new and exciting topics all of which lead to the better understanding by the participant of their outdoor natural world. Within five years, our goal is to see a 50% increase in the number of people served. The long term outcome will be a greater number of people better informed about the environment, the importance of good stewardship of our natural resources, and a commitment to preserve and protect our outdoor world.

Strategies utilized can be summed up by having the best people, sufficient resources, and a policy framework to guide and support the work that the Conservancy does. A major strategy is having a diverse, dedicated, informed board of directors. Five years ago the board members with professional guidance adopted a strategic plan that has served well as a guiding document. Providing this “road map" of where we are going and the tasks needed to achieve these outcomes has been instrumental in moving forward.

A well-trained competent work force to carry out the day to day activities of the CCC is fundamental to our success as an organization. Management will strive to hire, train, and guide employees to succeed in their roles.

Adequate funding is necessary to provide the resources needed to put our projects and programs in place. Staff needs a safe, appropriate work place with the necessary equipment to carry out their jobs. Grant funding is needed to put projects such as weed removal and planting of native species on the ground. Grant writing is an important element in our overall strategy to build on the work already done. Other funding mechanisms include collaboration with other organizations and leveraging existing funds to accomplish larger projects.

The CCC has the capacity to achieve our long term goals. Current assets that contribute to this ability include an updated, comprehensive governance structure. A few years ago the Conservancy with outside expertise conducted a thorough governance review resulting in updated by-laws, improved committee structure and appropriate policies. These materials serve as the foundation for strong commitment and support from an engaged, dynamic board of directors. The Conservancy is also fortunate to have a very dedicated staff that brings knowledge and expertise to the organization. Ongoing staff training and development increases the value of staff to the overall organizational capabilities. A financial plan developed as part of a strategic planning process in 2006 along with prudent financial management has resulted in reserve funds sufficient to carry on normal operations for a significant period of time. Our communication network continues to be enhanced and upgraded. We developed and launched a new website in 2012, and continue to add to the information it contains. We also communicate with several hundred people through our quarterly newsletter and our facebook page.

Collaborations with other organizations have been an important part of our past successes. The CCC has worked with several organizations such as the Yolo County Resource Conservation District, the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, and the Center for Land-Based Learning on specific restoration projects. Our partnership with Yolo County has been ongoing as we implement their plan on the creek corridor, as we manage their lands, and as we work together on future plans for the area. The CCC manages an endowment fund for the Cache Creek Nature Preserve which is owned by the County. The CCC also interfaces with many other organizations and agencies as well as maintaining good communications with all the private landowners in the area.

In the future, the CCC expects to expand its work with Yolo County in land management as more lands come into County ownership. The CCC is working on a certification from the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to hold mitigation easements for Swainson's hawk. This will enable to CCC to provide another valuable service in the conservation of lands.

The CCC was founded in 1996 so has already experienced close to twenty years of growth as an organization. The ongoing growth in ability to put restoration projects on the ground, to provide free workshops and educational programming to an increasing number of students per year, and to continually provide an outdoor experience for many demonstrates the stability and capacity of the CCC.

Progress is working towards a well managed, adequately funded, involved organization that provides the services envisioned, collaborates with others, provides leadership in its field, and is a model for non-profit governance. Near term objectives have been met by successful grant applications that have funded a start to the long-term restoration efforts along Cache Creek. Funding over the years has allowed for the removal and now annual maintenance to keep invasive weeds out of the creek corridor. This funding has provided on-the- ground projects that have contributed to our long term goals. Additional funding from various grant sources has allowed for site specific restoration involving planting and maintenance for a period of time. One of our biggest challenges is securing adequate funding to continue the work we have started. While we have increased the number of grants that we are applying for, the available funding has decreased. To meet this need, we have improved on our ability to write grants and also leverage matching funds from some of our partners along the creek.

Other grants have provided funds for our education program, thereby allowing children to receive hands-on activities at the Nature Preserve free of charge. This program has grown over time, with refinement and addition of specific activity stations along with the development of a core group of volunteers that lead the stations. Other programming involves activities/workshops for people of all ages focusing on a specific topic at various Open Days at the Preserve. These activities support our long term goal of having a well-educated, knowledgeable public that is better able to understand the issues around watershed protection, water quality, protection of natural lands, and restoration of habitat. Again, funding is our biggest challenge as we strive to meet the needs of serving an ever increasing number of people. A larger, better equipped Visitor Center has long been an objective, but does not seem attainable in the near term. While it may seem almost an afterthought, one of our biggest desires is to have real toilets for the public. We have used rented porta-potties for a number of years. The capital investment in a building is too great for us to manage right now, but we hold this out as a future objective. Eventually, trail development will need to be undertaken on lands that we will manage in the future. Our partnership with Yolo County is strong and productive, and by working together we anticipate meeting the objectives involved with managing more acres of land that will eventually be owned by the County.

Financials

Cache Creek Conservancy
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Cache Creek Conservancy

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. James Barrett

Retired

Term: 2021 - 2022


Board co-chair

Mrs. Cheryl Larson

State of California

Term: 2021 - 2022

Karen Dumars

School Teacher

Rachel Lam

Syar Industries

Louie Muller

Landowner

Lynnette Schofield

Landowner

Jason Smith

Teichert, Inc.

Kathleen Stoke

Landowner

James Barrett

Retired Landowner

Cheryl Larson

State of California

Rick Sitts

Retired

Charles Deyoe

California Department of Public Health

Mica Bennett

Retired Landowner

Bruce Christensen

Reproductive Canine Specialist

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/18/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Decline to state
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data