Nevada City OKs funds for more goat grazing | TheUnion.com

Nevada City OKs funds for more goat grazing

Nevada City’s goat grazing pilot project, which gained worldwide attention after the city launched a GoatFundMe, is close to wrapping up.

But that doesn’t mean the goats’ work is done. On Wednesday, the city council voted to extend its goat-grazing efforts to two new areas in need of vegetation management.

Nevada City made international news for going low-tech with its GoatFundMe, which has raised just over $25,000 of its $30,000 goal. Vice Mayor Reinette Senum, who conceived of the prescriptive grazing program as a low-cost and innovative way to manage the city’s fire risk, launched the crowdsourcing campaign that quickly gained worldwide attention.

Legacy Ranching goats debuted at Pioneer Park in late January, grazing an area along Deer Creek to start, one of several Nevada City properties identified as high priority for this winter.

Nevada City then went out to bid for seven different areas including city-owned properties at Woods Ravine, Hirschman’s Pond, Deer Creek Environs, Deer Creek and Pine Street Bridge. Legacy Ranching was selected for grazing Woods Ravine, for $10,350, and for the east side of Hirschman’s Pond, for a cost of $6,750. Brad Fowler’s The Goat Works was selected for 12 acres along the back east and west sides of Hirschman’s Pond for a cost of $7,500.

According to Senum, the city decided to award contracts to two bidders, both of whom are local, partially because of timing concerns.

“We know we don’t have a lot of time to get this all done,” Senum said, adding the city staff sat down with the bidders and “figured out who could handle what, so we could hit the ground running.”

Too, Senum said, Fowler will be able to keep a herder and herding dog at the Hirschman Pond site, which she said will add some needed security in that area.

Senum estimated Nevada City needs about $20,000 more to be able to get all the identified areas taken care of.

“If we don’t raise it, we won’t graze,” she said, urging the public to continue donating to the GoatFundMe.

The city council also voted to authorize a Memorandum of Understanding with the California Department of Forestry, to use the Washington Ridge fire crew on city properties for fire clearing. Nevada City will provide water treatment services for the Washington Ridge Public Water System (at the Washington Ridge Conservation Camp) “in trade” for fire crew work.

A related wildfire suppression effort, using a simulated fire map using a software called FlameMapper, will be the focus of a workshop hosted by Senum on March 22. FlameMapper models near-real-time fire behavior, using simulated virtual fires to understand the movement of fire and fire intensity over a mapped landscape. The company donated in-kind professional services to provide an analysis of a 9-square-mile radius with Nevada City in the center.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.


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