January 2014 Brings Goats!

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Seeding and strawing a restoration site before planting

Seeding and strawing a restoration site before planting

P1040249 P1040329 P1040328My life the last month has consisted of goats, 1,497 to be exact. My mentor and I have been managing a goat grazing project on Fort Ord, measuring the effects goats have on heavy areas of brush. We set up t-posts where we want a pen to go, and the herder fences in the goats. Before the goats are placed in the pens, we set up 2 study plots: a grazed and a non-grazed plot. We take 3 transects in both plots to see what kind of vegetation is found in each and then the control plot is fenced and the grazed plot is left to the goats. So far we have 16 pens and the number continues to rise every few days. The goats are normally in a pen 2-3 days, depending on the density of the brush. We are finding that goats make a much higher impact on areas needing to be grazed than sheep.

This month has also brought the rain thank goodness!! We have so far planted about 2 thousand plants with school groups and local habitat restoration programs. The site has to be ripped by heavy equipment and contoured (Tom our heavy equipment operator usually does that). Then it is seeded with barley and a native purple needle grass seed, and then straw is thrown down to protect the seed from birds and other critters.


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