BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 521

 Sheep Are Back to Work on Fort Ord Public Lands

BLM Encourages Visitors to Leash their Pets in Grasslands

sheep graze on green hillsides

More than 600 ewes and their lambs are back at work on the Bureau of Land Management's Fort Ord Public Lands in Monterey County.

The grazing program is part of a cooperative strategy to improve rangeland conditions in this ecologically unique area. 

"The sheep grazing program at Fort Ord has a proven track record of reducing wildfire hazards and stimulating native plant regeneration. The sheep have also been effective in controlling invasive thistle populations," said Eric Morgan, BLM's Fort Ord manager. The sheep will remain on the Fort Ord grasslands for the next four months.

With the return of the sheep herds, the BLM reminds visitors to the area to be careful around the sheep. "Over the last three years, visitors have been very careful around the herds. Even so, there were a few dog attacks on sheep last year," Morgan said. During the next four months, the BLM strongly encourages visitors to continue leashing their pets when near the sheep herds. Visitors are also encouraged to avoid riding bicycles at high rates of speed on roads and trails when sheep are present.

The sheep have become quite an attraction for many visitors to the Fort Ord Public Lands, and the BLM is planning a special event for sheep fans. "This year, we are working with the sheep operator to provide special opportunities for families to learn more about the sheep grazing program and see some shearing up close," Morgan said. The event will be advertised in the next few months.

For additional information about the grazing program, contact Morgan at (831) 394–8314, e-mail: emorgan@blm.gov, or Bruce Delgado, BLM botanist, at bdelgado@blm.gov.

sheep graze among deep green and brown grasses
sheep graze on hills against a backdrop of distant green hills

- Text from BLM California news release, Feb. 23, 2012

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 521 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.