Brush-chompin’ sheep leave, but goats arriving soon
Appeal Staff Writer
The sheep that were grazing in the local hills to help reduce the amount of flammable vegetation were moved earlier this month. Goats are expected to arrive within the next couple of weeks to conduct a second fuels -reduction project.
“They’re off fire duty now,” said Juan Guzman, the city’s open-space manager.
The goats will munch on different dry vegetation more suitable to their taste.
“They work amazing on Russian knapweed,” said Ann Bollinger, open-space assistant.
This would be the city’s second year using goats for land management. They enjoy eating brush more than sheep do.
Goats also enjoy a wider variety of plants than the sheep and “don’t mind thistles and stickers,” she said. “And they really enjoy roses.”
The sheep were herded east to U.S. Bureau of Land Management property on May 20.
Escort vehicles led the way as the woolly fire-prevention tools were moved from C Hill to federal land past Prison Hill and across Highway 50.
Shepherds and sheepdogs brought up the rear and kept the flock moving.
Some early- rising residents watched the procession.
The sheep arrived in early April. They were one of two flocks totaling roughly 1,600 sheep. The others grazed hills in the Timberline-Lakeview area and left a little earlier. Their task was to eat highly flammable grasses, particularly cheatgrass, that grows heavily in the area.
Area rancher Ted Borda, of Borda Land & Sheep Co., provided the sheep and handled the grazing.
The first local fire fuels reduction using sheep happened in May 1999, when 350 sheep were taken to C Hill and allowed to graze in an effort to create a 200-foot firebreak. This University of Nevada Cooperative Extension project was created to watch the sheep and evaluate how the animals could help protect against wildfires.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
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