Goat Grazing for Weed Control / Eradication

Habitat Restoration Interpretive Signage Bommer Canyon Goat GrazingHabitat Restoration Interpretive Signage Bommer Canyon Goat Grazing

Sage Environmental Group is partnering with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, City of Irvine, and UC Irvine Center for Environmental Biology to success test weed control / eradication methods at a designated habitat restoration site within Bommer Canyon on a multi-year basis. Before native plants can be re-introduced into the area, non-native grasses and weeds must be removed. The project area is located within Bommer Meadow, historically part of a working cattle camp. Livestock grazing and the introduction of non-native plants and weeds degraded the natural habitat over time, reducing the food, water, and shelter available for native wildlife.

Our scope of work entails documenting baseline conditions then deploying our in-house herd of goats to one of the designated areas at the Bommer Meadow site to intensively graze spring weed growth for several weeks. A total of four acres has been set aside for testing weed control / eradication methods to determine the optimal method that will result in long-term control. The methods being tested include goat grazing and mechanical removal (mowing). Over the multi-year project, Sage will document goat grazing activities in the context of Adaptive Management.

Success is achieved long- term through systematically and empirically testing hypotheses and assumptions, and incorporating lessons learned into transparent, adaptive, scientific” decision-making frameworks; and then acting on them in a timely way. We learn as much - or more - from our failures as we do our successes, constantly refining and improving our approaches. (Source: Irvine Ranch Conservancy)

The UC-Irvine Center for Environmental Biology (School Biological Sciences) facilitates research, education, and outreach in biological science to help develop innovative new solutions to environmental problems. Its goal is to apply science to conserve biodiversity in Orange County. Working in partnership with ecosystem and resource managers, UC Irvine faculty collaborate to conduct solutions-oriented research in environmental biology, and train the next generation of stewards of biological resources.

Come out to see our goats at work starting in the first weekend of May. Bring your family, bring your colleagues. You can view the goats from the hiking trail. IRC and Sage will use the Baseline Conditions and Monitoring Data to provide Adaptive Management documentation throughout the goat grazing effort in each project year. Information gathered will then be used to reevaluate goals and implementation methods; modify the goat grazing plan; and apply lessons learned to improve future results of weed control / eradication.