Nevada City launches GoatFundMe campaign, fire reduction plan
December 7, 2018
Nevada City is taking an innovative approach to creating more defensible space and is looking to fund the rental of a herd of goats through a GoatFundMe that already has raised nearly $1,500.
Vice Mayor Reinette Senum, who took the lead on this city project, got a jump start by launching the GoFundMe campaign an hour before Wednesday's Wildfire Prevention and Preparedness Town Hall. Nevada City is starting with a goal of $30,000 though it will ultimately cost much more than that, Senum said in a press release.
The immediate challenge for the city is that while ranchers are expanding to meet demand, for now, their herds are already rented out next spring, summer and fall, making their herds only available this winter.
"For the immediate moment, we turn to our homeowners, renters, business owners, and neighborhood associations while we work at securing grant funding for the long haul," Senum said. "However, this generally takes many weeks or months and we simply don't have that kind of time if we're going to launch the program by this month and throughout the rest of the winter."
City staff is recommending the City Council approve (up to) $5,000 to start prescriptive grazing behind Pioneer Park. The intention is to use that particular site as a public demonstration that will include outreach materials for the public such as tips, tools, best practices, and contact info of qualified, vetted ranchers.
"While the city does everything in our power to reduce the fire risk, we think it equally important that we teach our local residents how to do the same," said City Manager Catrina Olson. "It's our goal to make it as easy as possible for them to do so."
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Senum, city staff and local ranchers walked city owned property and have identified four different methods of clearing as well as the following properties as high priority for this winter: Behind Pioneer Park, Deer Creek environs including water treatment plant, Woods Ravine between Highway 49 and Cement Hill Road, Sugarloaf and the old airport.
This type of grazing includes a herdsman on-site at all times as well as a camping trailer, water wagon (if needed), electric fencing, herding dog and transport trailer, and can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per acre depending on the difficulty of the terrain and how much there is to graze. Approximately 200 goats can knock down an acre per day, and Nevada City owns more than 450 acres of greenbelt.
"That's a lot of acreage but we're breaking it down into bite sizes and prioritizing where the risk is greatest," Senum said. "The more money we raise, the more acreage we can cover."
Once these properties have been cleared, the city intends on following up with hand crews. Nevada City will be calling upon community volunteers for the easy-to-reach properties and hopes to partner with the county to use the jail release program and/or the Washington Ridge crews.
For more information, contact Reinette Senum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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