SAN ANSELMO - A herd of 400 goats arrived to munch on grass this weekend in San Anselmo as part of a large-scale fire hazard reduction project spearheaded by Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District.
“Goat grazing can be a cost effective solution to reduce fuels and wildfire hazard in many parts of Marin,” says Rich Shortall, President of both SHFPD and FIRESafe MARIN. “This is the largest goat grazing project I’m aware of in Marin, and is pretty unique in the way it involves such a diverse group of public and private landowners.”
The goats, owned by Star Creek Land Stewards of Los Banos, CA, began grazing over the winter on Rocking H Ranch, helping to reduce and “de-thatch” decades of growth in 115 acres of native grasses while turning over soil with hundreds of tiny hooves.
As spring approached, the goats moved to neighboring lands in the Terra Linda-Sleepy Hollow Divide Open Space, where a mix of 400 goats and sheep helped reduce fuels and invasive weeds at the rate of one to two acres per day on public lands. Priority areas for grazing include fire roads and preserve edges where grazing helps enhance defensible space near homes.
As of the Memorial Day weekend, the goat are now at San Domenico School, located at the end of Butterfield Road in a location with a long history of wildfires.