October 25, 2020

Rosi Dagit Honored as Third District “Woman of the Year”



Rosi Dagit Honored as Third District “Woman of the Year”

From left, Susan Nissman, Senior Deputy for Third District Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky with members of the Board of the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains (from left) Nancy Helsley, Mary Ellen Strote, Honoree Rosi Dagit, Clark Stevens, Jackie Safanov, Steve Rosentsweig, Beth Burnam, Jenna Krug and a Los Angeles County official.

On March 10, Rosie Dagit, Senior Biologist for the Resource Conservation District, was among 12 women to be honored by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and the L.A. County Commission for Women at the 29th Annual “Women of the Year” Awards and Scholarship Luncheon. They were recognized as “outstanding women who have made a difference in the lives of women.”

Specifically, Dagit, who has lived and worked in the Santa Monica Mountains area since 1987, was acknowledged for “serving as an exemplary role model for women” in her work as a volunteer and a scientist who, among many other credits, was the initial Watershed Coordinator for the Topanga Creek Watershed Committee (TCWC) and edited the TCWC Management Plan.

When it came time to present the award to Dagit, Supervisor Yaroslavsky had been delayed. Stepping up in his behalf was his Senior Deputy Susan Nissman.

“In all my 20 years of seeing honorees at this event, this may be the first scientist,” Nissman said. “The supervisor has been working with her for 20 of the 27 years Rosie has lived here.

“Most of that time we have seen her in the creeks wearing her snorkel, conducting amphibian surveys, tracking western pond turtles, mark-recapture of endangered Steelhead and Gobies, monitoring bat bridges and California’s native oaks. For the past several years, Dagit has traveled to Antarctica to conduct long-term research that she integrates with protecting our watersheds.”

In thanking the Commission and Supervisor Yaroslavsky, Dagit noted that the recognition given to her is always the result of a team effort.

“No one person can do all the work that we do and that is the common theme that came through today. It takes a village, in our case, a team. We have had incredible women to work with us. The support team at the RCD allowed me to pick any project I wanted and provided a team that goes out in the middle of the night crawling through the creek looking for fish or frogs.

“Without having an environment that supports us, we would not have the kind of life we have today. With the continued support of L.A. County we’ll keep putting it all together to help preserve and maintain our beloved Santa Monica Mountains.”


Rosi Dagit, Senior Conservation Biologist for the RCDSSM is an environmental scientist and educator, and a certified arborist. She has initiated and coordinated
numerous research, restoration and monitoring projects throughout the Santa Monica Mountains, starting with studies of Malibu Lagoon, Leo Carrillo State Beach and moving inland to watershed level analysis and sensitive species monitoring.

When she first moved to Los Angeles in 1987, she served as an active volunteer with the Topanga Arson Watch, the California Native Plant Society and the Topanga Canyon Docents.

She was the Disaster Preparedness Coordinator for Topanga Elementary School’s PTO from 1994 – 1998, and continues to volunteer at the school as an environmental educator, integrating years of researching environmental trends in Antarctica in the study of penguins.

Her interest in Oak Woodlands, a major influence on watershed stability, led to a variety of long-term research projects, notably collaborating with a team from UCLA to research water quality and bacterial source identification.

She has published numerous technical papers, as well as a children’s book, “Grandmother Oak,” sales of which provide funding for planting oaks in Topanga State Park.

She currently serves as a member of the Los Angeles County Environmental Review Board and leader of the Topanga Creek Stream Team. She is a member of the Los Angeles County Beach Commission, technical advisor for the California Oak Foundation and former member of the City of Malibu Environmental Review Board.

In her role at the RCD, Dagit collaborates with landowners, community stakeholders and local governments to provide input throughout the planning process in connecting field studies to development of policies for sustainably managing species, the local ecosystem and watershed protection.

She organizes and coordinates the work of 150 volunteers of the Topanga Creek Stream Team whose restoration efforts include yearly creek clean-up events, removal of wrecked cars from the creek, oak plantings and the restoration of the Rodeo Grounds in Lower Topanga State Park.

Since 2008, she has been coordinating the development of the Los Angeles County Oak Woodlands Conservation Management Plan.


A resource conservation district is a special 
district organized under the State Public Resources Code, authorized and directed to promote and provide conservation education, conduct research, advise and assist other public agencies and private citizens in the areas of land-use planning, soil and water conservation, wildlife habitat enhancement and restoration, control of exotic plant species, and watershed restoration.

It is not a rule-making, regulatory agency but can advise agencies and act as an intermediary between them and concerned citizens. Certain federal benefits are available to counties and cities only through these special districts.

Resource Conservation Districts can lease or own land, publish the results of their research, contract to perform restoration projects and educational programs and, if needed, operate facilities for the enhancement and conservation of our natural resources.