Graduate Project


Sheep and Goat Grazing on Fort Ord National Monument from 1998 – 2019: Implications for Restoration Public Deposited

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  • Since 1960 sheep have been used to reduce fuel accumulation on Fort Ord National Monument (FONM) grasslands. From 1997-2019 BLM’s monitoring projects were employed to determine livestock grazing impacts on Coyote Brush, bunchgrasses, and other native and non-native herbaceous vegetation. In 2014, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) determined that passive sheep grazing was not being effective at reducing fuel loads, and transitioned into using a combination of passive and targeted goat grazing as a management tool. ‘Goats R Us’ provide BLM livestock to graze grasslands from October – April. Grazing objectives are 1) reduce encroachment of Coyote Brush Scrub into Coastal Grassland, 2) reduce residual dry matter (RDM) to 1200 lb/acre, and 3) increase abundance of native grasses and forbs. Since 2014, BLM has determined that goat grazing can reduce the encroachment of Coyote Brush Scrub, however there has been a concurrent increase in abundance of non-native forbs and annual grasses. BLM and its partners are experimenting with new techniques of goat grazing to reduce biomass of non-native grasses and to promote native grassland diversity. One technique being evaluated is targeted goat grazing select areas of coastal grassland 2-3 times per year. Results suggest that this reduces the cover of non-native grasses, creates open ground for forb and bunchgrass abundance to increase and provides the most reduction in fuel accumulations. This targeted grazing regime gives the BLM an opportunity to manage coastal grassland to both reduce fuel accumulation and increase native plant abundance in FONM Coastal Grassland.
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