Ruminants invade Lincoln Hills

By: Staff report
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Residents of Lincoln Hills are sharing their community with some unusual four-legged neighbors. The Sun City Lincoln Hills Community Association and Wildlife Heritage Foundation, in collaboration with Restoration Resources, has begun using goats to graze the preserved land around the Sun City Lincoln Hills community in Lincoln. In most residential areas, the sight of goats eating a neighbor’s lawn would be shocking, but they fit right in with the gentle rolling hills and wetlands surrounding the Sun City Lincoln Hills. More than 600 acres of protected wetlands, oak woodlands and grasslands surround the home sites at Sun City Lincoln Hills. Wildlife Heritage Foundation holds the conservation easement for the Sun City property and has chosen grazing as the most effective and environmentally sound method of invasive weed control and fire protection. “We are rediscovering the value of managed grazing with a combination of sheep and goats and we believe that the wave of the future is to go back to the past,” said Riley Swift, owner of Restoration Resources, the design/build landscape firm that restored Sun City Lincoln Hills. Grazing is a cutting-edge and biodynamic way of reducing fire hazard and keeping invasive plants and weeds down to a minimum while reducing the use of potentially harmful pesticides and protecting the environment. Wildlife Heritage Foundation has discovered that goats and sheep do a wonderful job. There are several very important reasons for grazing with small ruminants such as goats and sheep on the Sun City Lincoln Hills preserved open space. Grazing allows the preserve manager a means to maintain the herbaceous cover, height and biomass within a range that is conducive to the health and long-term persistence of the natural communities that currently exist on the property. Grazing also assists in reducing the fire hazard associated with the mass of thatch build-up that accumulates during the dry summer and fall seasons. Finally, grazing with goats and sheep assists in the management of invasive plant species by reducing weedy populations and inhibiting their spread.