A herd of 400 goats began grazing the hills of Sleepy Hollow and Terra Linda last week to reduce wildfire fuels. The large-scale fuel reduction project was initiated by Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District (SHFPD), in cooperation with Marin County Open Space District, FIRESafe MARIN, San Domenico School, Rocking H Ranch, and Triple C Ranch. Goats will graze more tha 140 acres of vegetation across private and public lands to further reduce the risk of wildfire within the region over a three month period.
A herder from Star Creek Land Stewards will set up temporary camps and allow goats to graze specific areas within the 1,172-acre Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Open Space Preserve through mid-May. Priority areas include fire roads and preserve edges where grazing helps maintain defensible space near homes. Herding and protection dogs will be off leash as needed, so the MCOSD is asking visitors to help by not allowing other dogs to chase or harass the goats or herding dogs. Goats will move to San Domenico School in late May where they will reduce vegetation fuel on more than 20 acres, before walking to nearby Triple-C Ranch in June. Rocking H Ranch in Lucas Valley is also cooperating in this project, and has succesfully used goats to reduce vegetation in several prior years.
This project is a result of recommmendations identified in the Sleepy Hollow Wildfire Hazard and WUI Assessment and the Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). In addition to fuel reduction goals, this grazing project will help prevent the spread of invasive barbed goatgrass, which can threaten rare serpentine plants and wildlife habitats on Open Space District and private lands.