Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest News Release: Forest to Use Sheep to Reduce Hazardous Fuels

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Forest Service to Use Sheep to Reduce Hazardous Fuels

Carson City NV., April 19, 2018 – As part of the Carson Ranger District’s Hazardous Fuels Reduction Program on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, sheep will be released to graze on two separate fuel reduction project areas. These sheep will help remove cheatgrass and other non-native vegetation from National Forest System (NFS) lands. The West Carson Fuels Project is located on the west side of Carson City, Nevada, and the Arrowhawk Fuels Reduction Project is located on the west side of Reno, Nevada.

The West Carson Fuels Project area is approximately 500 acres and located southeast of King’s Canyon Road near the C-Hill area in Carson City, Nevada. The Arrowhawk Fuels Reduction Project area is about 1000 acres and located approximately 10 miles southwest of Reno, Nevada, and just west of the Arrowcreek Residential Area urban interface. Grazing in this project will occur within the Thomas Creek and Whites Creek watersheds north of Timberline Road.

Grazing will begin sometime in late April or early May, depending on the weather and condition of the plants to be grazed. Grazing will continue through the end of the cheatgrass growing season in mid-summer.

“Cheatgrass is an invasive species that has the potential to dominate an area if not managed," said Fuels Forester Anna Belle Monti. “It can outcompete native vegetation, eventually pushing native grasses and shrubs out of their normal habitat. Cheatgrass plants also create an exceptional fuel bed for wildfire and can be a threat to surrounding communities.”

The Forest has contracted with the Borda Land & Sheep Company out of Gardnerville, Nevada, to perform the grazing projects. Approximately 800 ewes will be used for each grazing area and each flock will be monitored by herders and livestock guard dogs.

“This program is an important measure to help keep our communities safe from fire," said Irene Davidson, Carson District Ranger. "Grazing sheep is a cost-effective and efficient way to fight the spread of the problematic invasive species."

Monti reminds dog owners hiking in both project areas to keep dogs leashed at the trailheads and within one mile of the trailheads. Last summer there were a number of incidents where off-leash dogs harassed the sheep herds. Livestock guard dogs will be present with the sheep herds and they instinctively will guard the herd against any form of predator that it feels is a threat.

“For the safety of both the dogs and the sheep grazing on these fuels reduction projects, we cannot stress enough the importance of following the county ordinances and area trail rules for leashing dogs in these areas,” said Monti. “The sheep grazing program helps keep our communities safe from fire, but we are only able to graze the sheep if we all work to keep the sheep and our pets safe from harm. With participation from our visitors, both uses can coexist for everyone’s benefit.”

For more information on the Carson Ranger District Hazardous Fuels Reduction Program, contact Anna Belle Monti at 775-884-8103.