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In order to reduce fuels at Montini Open Space Preserve, Sonoma Ecology Center has hired a grazing service to bring approximately 80 sheep to specially designated wildland-urban interface areas of the city-owned Preserve. Besides sustainably controlling flammable invasive grasses, the project allows our researchers to study the effects of grazing on this oak savannah/grassland ecosystem with a focus on water storage, native species cover, biodiversity, oak regeneration and carbon sequestration. Sonoma Ecology Center manages the land on behalf of the City of Sonoma, which owns the 98-acre open space.

“We are using the methods of holistic planned grazing,” explained Restoration Project Manager Brad Alper, who is currently obtaining a graduate degree in Rangeland Ecology to add to his extensive restoration expertise. The method, developed in South Africa, uses specific grazing techniques to improve plant diversity, carbon sequestration, and litter cover.

As noted by the City of Sonoma, Chasin’ Goats Grazing was the operation hired to bring in the sheep. The project is funded by Measure M – Parks for All.