Santa Rosa, CA – July 16, 2018 – Sonoma County Regional Parks has recruited some assistance
for fire prevention and invasive species removal: sheep. A flock of sheep will
spend the next five weeks grazing along the Laguna
de Santa Rosa Trail near Sebastopol, removing dry vegetation and non-native
“Grazing reduces the use of pesticides and need to mow,” said
Regional Parks Natural Resources Manager Hattie Brown. “It also helps restore
the wetlands to their natural state and keeps the sheep well-fed doing what
they instinctively do best.”
Grazing also reduces wildfire risk by clearing excess
vegetation, promotes plant viability, and supports local
agriculture. Regional Parks uses grazing at several parks, including Helen
Mountain, and Crane
For the Laguna, grazing is part of a larger plan to
encourage natural resources to flourish on site. The invasive perennial
pepperweed and reed canary grass are both found in the Laguna. Through this
program, sheep will eat the invasive species, and their presence also will help
break up the thatch that accumulates on the soil surface.
“Vegetation buildup is detrimental to many native plants
that evolved to thrive in landscapes that had large herds of animals
periodically migrating through,” Brown said. Park Managers hope the
grazing program will promote the growth of the critically endangered Sebastopol
meadowfoam that grows in the Laguna.
Regional Parks partnered with the city of Santa Rosa, the city of Sebastopol, the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation and
the Sonoma County Agricultural
Preservation and Open Space District, Sonoma
County Water Agency, and Sonoma
County Regional Parks Foundation, to bring grazing to the popular trail
that connects Highway 12 to Occidental Road, just east of Sebastopol. The
sheep will be in the area through late August, 2018 and the project is
supported by the Sonoma
Regional Parks Foundation and the Sonoma
County Water Agency.
For more information, email
Natural Resources Manager Hattie Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
County Regional Parks
The Regional Parks system includes 56 parks, beaches, and trails throughout
Sonoma County. Regional Parks’ mission is to create healthy communities and
contribute to the county’s economic vitality by acquiring, developing, managing,
maintaining parks. Regional Parks preserves natural and cultural resources and
offers opportunities for recreation and education that enhance the quality of
life and well-being of residents and visitors.