Ag + Open Space Hires Julie Mefferd and Stephanie Tavares-Buhler to Fill Two Top Positions

May 6, 2019

Posted in: Press Releases

Ag + Open Space Hires Julie Mefferd and Stephanie Tavares-Buhler to Fill Two Top Positions

SANTA ROSA, CA (May 2, 2019) – The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Ag + Open Space), a special district of the County dedicated to protecting our working and natural lands forever, is pleased to welcome two new staff members to the agency. Stephanie (Steph) Tavares-Buhler started on April 9 as a Senior Acquisition Specialist and Julie Mefferd, who started on April 23, is the agency’s new Fiscal and Administrative Services Manager.

Julie Mefferd has been in public service for more than 15 years, working most recently as the Assistant Business Manager for a California Central Valley school district. Prior to her position at the school district, she was the General Services Agency Director and Purchasing Agent for Stanislaus County and the Deputy Director of Administrative Services for Tulare County. Julie graduated from California State University, Stanislaus with a Master’s of Business Administration. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles in Film and Communications. Outside of the office, she enjoys traveling, photography and spending time with her family. Julie takes over the Fiscal and Administrative Services Manager position from Mary Dodge, who will be retiring in June.

Steph Tavares-Buhler has over six years’ experience with land conservation transactions and has given presentations on various topics at the Land Trust Alliance and California Council of Land Trusts’ Conservation Law Forum. Prior to joining Ag + Open Space, she was the Acquisitions Manager at the Marin Agricultural Land Trust and worked as an energy, environment, and business journalist in Las Vegas, Nevada. She grew up in a large farming family in Central California and was raised in a Monterey County park dedicated to agricultural heritage.  She holds a Juris Doctor and a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy, cum laude and magna cum laude, from Vermont Law School and is a California licensed attorney. Her Master’s work focused on the law and policy of managing river, coastal, and ocean resources. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Global Studies with a minor in History from UC Santa Barbara. Steph enjoys visiting parks and beaches across the region and gardening with her husband, young son, and freeloading chickens at their home near Petaluma. The Senior Acquisition Specialist position is new to the agency.

About Sonoma County Ag + Open Space
Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Ag + Open Space) is a special district that permanently protects the diverse agricultural, natural resource and scenic open space lands of Sonoma County for future generations. Funded by a quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1990 and reauthorized in 2006, the district has protected over 117,000 acres to date and will continue to steward these and future protected lands forever. For more information, visit


Media Contact:
Amy Ricard | Community Relations Specialist