Last Update: July 24
Our sheep herd has been grazing on The Sea Ranch since 2002, as a natural alternative to gas powered weed whackers or controlled burning. By using prescriptive grazing, our flock of 320 mature ewes (a mature breeding female sheep) is moved throughout The Sea Ranch to munch on tall grasses in the common areas between houses, lots, and private property. Our general rule of thumb is to graze along the mow line of each lot or house.
While the focus behind the program is fire hazard reduction, we have also had serious success getting native plant and butterfly species to return The Sea Ranch area. In addition to 10 test and control plots scattered around the area for botanical surveys each year, we work with the F&R staff, environmental team, and the native plant committee on a day to day basis. We consider proper timing for grazing in deference to rare or endangered plants and animals, such as letting a flower bloom for two more weeks so they go to seed, then looping back and grazing. In the process of grazing, the seeds are replanted with toiling of the earth by sheep hooves and their dung and urine naturally manures the land. Depending on the rain, it takes a little over 12 months for the sheep to complete one loop around The Sea Ranch. Due to many factors, the sheep are never in the same spot at the same date year to year, which is a good thing to promote biodiversity in the area.
While the sheep are stopping the encroachment of grasses, vines, and shrubs, they are also a joy to watch! Many residents enjoy catching a view of the sheep. You can see where the sheep are today by clicking here, and be sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest news. #Baaaaa