Borda sheep have been unleashed in western Carson City to consume cheatgrass and other vegetation before a fire does.
The sheep were released on Carson City Open Space and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s Carson Ranger District on Friday.
“Cheatgrass is an aggressive non-native species outcompeting our native vegetation and creates an exceptional fuel bed for wildfire spread,” said Carson Ranger District Fuels Specialist Steve Howell. “Grazing sheep is a cost-effective and efficient way to fight the spread of the problematic invasive species.”
The Borda Land and Sheep Co. from Gardnerville, Nevada, will conduct the grazing project. Approximately 750 ewes and lambs will be released and monitored by herders and livestock guard dogs.
"This year marks the 17th year of implementing this important fuel reduction project across the Carson City wildland urban interface, following the heels of the Waterfall Fire in 2004,” said Carson City Open Space Manager Lyndsey Boyer. “This project is critical in reducing the fine fuel load to keep our community safe from wildfires."
The West Carson Fuels Project area is located southeast of King’s Canyon Road near the C-Hill area. Sheep will be released first behind the Greenhouse Garden Center (2450 South Curry St.), and the following week the second band of sheep will be released behind the Western Nevada Community College (2201 W College Parkway). Grazing will continue through the beginning of June.
The project area is a popular place for people to hike with their dogs. However, this popularity has resulted in an increased number of incidents where off-leash dogs are harassing the sheep. Continuation of the sheep grazing program can only continue if the sheep and dogs can be kept safe from harm. Both uses can coexist as long as the public abides by the Carson City animal ordinances and posted trail rules for dogs.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep all dogs leashed while hiking through the area where sheep are grazing,” said Howell. “No matter how well trained a dog is, their instinct to chase could put them and the sheep in danger.”
For more information on the newly revised Carson City Dog Rules and Regulations Policy, please visit: https://www.carson.org/government/departments-g-z/parks-recreation-open-space/parks-and-places/parks-and-open-spaces/dog-friendly-parks.
This project advances the efforts towards reducing wildfire risk to communities as highlighted in the USDA Forest Service Wildfire Crisis Strategy. For more information on this strategy and how the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is furthering this effort, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r4/?cid=fseprd1083596.