County of Marin - News Releases - Goats to Graze

For Immediate Release
March 27, 2018

Have You Herd? Goats to Graze in Open Space

Fire fuel reduction program taking place in hills above Terra Linda, Sleep Hollow

San Rafael, CA – A herd of 400 goats is heading into the hills of Terra Linda and Sleepy Hollow this week to reduce wildfire fuels, and Marin County Parks would like to let preserve users and neighbors know what to expect.

Two goats graze on grass near a fence.Goats will graze in the Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Open Space Preserve through May to help reduce wildfire hazard and consume invasive plant species.
The Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) is coordinating a large-scale fuel reduction project with Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District, San Domenico School of San Anselmo, Rocking H Ranch, and Triple C Ranch. Goats will graze vegetation across private and public lands to further reduce the risk of wildfire within the region.

A herder is setting up a temporary camp and allowing goats to graze specific areas within the 1,172-acre Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Open Space Preserve through May. Priority areas include fire roads and preserve edges where grazing helps maintain defensible space near homes. Herding dogs will be off leash as needed, so the MCOSD is asking visitors to help by not allowing other dogs to chase or harass the goats or herding dogs.

MCOSD works with the Marin County Fire Department and other local fire and land management agencies to accomplish multi-benefit fuel reduction projects designed to increase the safety of residents living in wildland/urban interfaces. These projects also benefit the natural landscape, other local residents, and visitors by managing weeds, promoting native wildflowers, and maintaining clear access for daily use and emergency response.  

In addition to fuel reduction goals, this grazing project helps prevent the spread of invasive barbed goatgrass, which can threaten rare serpentine plants and wildlife habitats. The Open Space District controls noxious weeds using integrated pest management, a decision-making framework that employs a variety of methods to control invasive plants including manually pulling, cutting, burning, tarping, controlled-burn fires, and grazing. A high level of community interest and input has helped the MCOSD incorporate new ideas into its vegetation management program to reduce the need for herbicides.

MCOSD and its partners encourage everyone to join the partnership by making their own homes and communities safer and more defensible from wildfire. More information is available at

Questions about the grazing can be directed to vegetation and fire ecologist Sarah Minnick at 415-473-5058 or


Sarah Minnick
Vegetation and Fire Ecologist
Marin County Parks

Marin Civic Center
Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-5058
Email: Sarah Minnick
Marin County Parks website