Nevada City, CA
Prescriptive Grazing Information

Many local and state government agencies are now using managed grazing. Although it has been around for years, it may not be appropriate for every situation, but if done properly, it is an effective, eco-friendly alternative to consider for your property by reducing fire hazard and controlling the growth of vegetation on public lands.

 View FlameMapper's Public Presentation from the March 22, 2019 Meeting  HERE

Reports on Prescriptive Grazing

Fire Science Brief: Prevent or Reduce Fire with Goats

In the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) methods for reducing fire hazards such as prescribed burns and mechanical thinning, may be less than ideal in terms of effectiveness, let alone in acceptance by community residents.

Goat herds to reduce and prevent wildfire provides another option for fuel managers. Goats vigorously eat fire prone vegetation like blackberries, while trampling parts of the area —such areas treated by goats can stop a fire cold. Study results show the promise of using domesticated animals as part of our fire prevention workforce. In certain situations, goats may be able to save money, while creating new and effective ways of managing fire-prone landscapes.


Using Goats to Control Brush Regrowth On Fuel Breaks

 If you are truly serious about becoming a goat herder, acquiring more goats for grazing, or simply want to know about it we highly recommend this USDA and US Forest Report:

Benefits of Managed Grazing

One of the most noticeable benefits of grazing is the reduction of ladder fuels. Ladder fuels are dead vegetation such as tall grasses, shrubs, and low hanging tree branches that allow a ground fire to climb up into the tree canopy and spread. Managed grazing is a very effective way to reduce fire fuel loads because goats and sheep love grasses, clovers, weeds and brush species such as Manzanita, berry bushes, poison oak and even star thistle.

Properly managed grazing has many environmental benefits, including:

  • Watershed Health & Protection
  • Habitat for Endangered & Threatened Species
  • Sequestering Carbon from the Air
  • Ground Water Recharge
  • Wildfire Reduction
  • Soil and Plant Health
  • Eradication of Invasive Plant Species

 How to Prepare 

  • Do your due diligence. Make sure to ask perspective graziers about their experience and their particular set-up. Does it include electric fencing and herd dog? Does it require an on-site herder? What should one expect from this grazing? What are the risks? How much does this cost per acre?
  • Do not place any yard clippings, rat poison, or potted plants in the open space.
  • Keep pets away from sheep and goats since the dogs protecting the herd may view them as a threat.
  • Ensure that your fence is secure so grazing animals do not have access to your yard. Goats and sheep may be able to squeeze their heads through a wrought iron fence so please protect your plants.
  • Keep children and pets away from the electrified grazing fence that can cause small shocks if touched.
  • Please do not feed or disturb the animals. Do not attempt to save or rescue animals.



Tips for Homeowners Adjacent to Open Space

• Because goats and sheep like to eat almost everything, please do not place any yard clippings, toxic materials, or potted plants in the open space area.

• Please minimize disturbance to both the grazing herd and companion dogs. It is important that you do not allow pets into the open space area while the goats and sheep are grazing, as they may be perceived by the guardian dogs to be a threat to the herd and will react accordingly.

• Please ensure your fence is secure so grazing animals do not have access to your yard. Goats and sheep may be able to squeeze their heads through a wrought iron fence, so please protect your plants. The grazing contractor will not be liable for property damage as a result of faulty fences.

• Please be cautious of temporary wire fencing used for the herds. They may be energized fences that can cause small shocks if touched.

• At times traffic will be held in certain areas to allow herds to cross the street. Crossings will be scheduled for non-peak traffic hours and disruptions will be kept to a minimum.

The Nevada City grazing program provides sustainable land management, brush and weed control without destroying the ecological balance in the open space areas. Grazing eliminates noxious weeds, helps restore native grasses, and addresses fire prevention through fuel load reduction.


Goat and Sheep Producers Providing Prescribed Grazing Services:

Using goats to perform weed abatement by grazing is an alternative to herbicide application and mowing.

This is a listing of some of the contractors who do this type of abatement work, it is presented as a convenience to the public. This list is not a recommendation of any individual and should not be considered an endorsement by the City of Nevada City. There are other individuals doing the same type of work. Please check the phone directory listings or search the internet.

Brad & Alana Fowler, The Goat Works, P.O. Box 358 Penn Valley, CA 95946, (530)906-0338, [email protected], They use goats in Nevada County, California for fire hazard / fuel load reduction.

Rob Thompson, Legacy Ranching. (530) 708-0590, [email protected]  The provide prescriptive goat grazing in Nevada County, California for fire hazard/fuel load reduction.

Madeline Toro, Silver Girl Goats, Nevada County, CA (530) 277-4840, email  [email protected] Targeted grazing/vegetation management utilizing goats. Great for property clearing and fire safety. Contact Madeline to schedule a consultation.

Roy & Julie Austin, Goat Central, El Dorado, CA, Renting & Selling Kiko goats for brush management, meat, breeding stock, pets. Livestock guardian dogs and herding dogs available

Live Wire Fencing, 10187 Commercial Ave, Penn Valley, CA, (530) 432-8028. More than 35 years in the electric fencing business.

Grazing Links:


Fact Sheet on the BLM's Management of Livestock Grazing -


Soil Management for Intensive Grazing -


Sustainable Use of Goats as a Vegetation Management Tool -


Targeted Grazing: A natural approach to vegetation management -


Rotational Grazing With Sheep and Goats


Things You Need To Know BEFORE Getting Goats

      City Hall | 317 Broad Street Nevada City, CA 95959  |  Phone: (530) 265-2496  |  Fax: (530) 265-0187
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