Range Management Advisory Committee

MISSION & GOALS

The Range Management Advisory Committee was statutorily created by Section 741 of the Public Resources Code of the State of California to advise the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture on rangeland resource issues.

POLICIES & REPORTS

2020 RMAC Strategic Plan

2022 RMAC Annual Report and Workplan

Prescribed Herbivory for Fuel Reduction

MEETINGS & WEBINARS

The meetings will be held in Sacramento, but are subject to change.

To register for a webinar, please see the Board of Forestry & Fire Protection Homepage or the appropriate meeting agenda. 

STAFF & MEMBERSHIP

Staff: Kristina Wolf, Environmental Scientist

Kristina.Wolf@bof.ca.gov

The RMAC includes representatives from academia, industry, state agencies, consulting firms, and non-profit agencies. The current RMAC membership may be viewed in the following downloadable PDF: Members and Term Expiration

Meeting Materials 2024

Meeting Materials 2023

Workshops

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE CONFERENCE

  • October 24–26, 2023
    Simi Valley, California

In partnership with Ventura County Resource Conservation District and Ventura County Wildfire Collaborative, Coastal Quest hosted a 3-day exchange bringing together a diverse group of wildfire practitioners to focus on understanding, preventing, and recovering from wildfires. Day 1 focused on Planning and Collaboration; Day 2 focused on Solutions and Actions; and Day 3 comprised four different field tour options, including one on “Wildfire Mitigation and Adaptive Management Practices: Prescribed Grazing and Burning”. Members and staff for the RMAC participated in panel Session 6 on Day 2: “Adaptive Management: Prescribed Grazing and Burns”.

Supplemental Materials

The Range Management Advisory Committee co-hosted three virtual workshops and four in-person field workshops on targeted grazing for fuel reduction in California in 2023. This year focused on the logistics, planning, implementation, and constraints, challenges, and successes in the use of prescribed herbivory/targeted grazing on public and private lands, and participants learned why people might choose targeted grazing as part of a vegetation management and fuels reduction strategy. Brief descriptions and links to supplemental materials for workshops are provided below:

 

NAVIGATING THE APPLICATION AND PERMITTING PROCESS FOR WILDFIRE FUELS TREATMENT USING TARGETED GRAZING

  • February 24, 2023
    8:30 AM–3:30 PM
    Hybrid meeting in Stockton, California

This half-day no-cost workshop was held in person and virtually during the morning session of the Joint Range Conference “Rangeland and Fire”, a partnership of the Range Management Advisory Committee and the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition. As CAL FIRE and the State of California continued to ramp up investments for increasing fuel treatments to manage high fuel loads and reduce wildfire risk, the tool of using livestock to treat fuels has garnered increased attention for its potential to managing combustible vegetation. Participants learned about a variety of funding sources available to support wildfire prevention projects and activities in and near fire threatened communities that focus on increasing the protection of people, structures, and communities. In this workshop, CALFIRE, UC Extension advisors, and grazing managers offered general guidelines for developing applications for fuel reduction projects utilizing grazing through Request for Proposal (RFP) processes, and for developing successful grazing agreements. Speakers also provided information required for major elements of the funding application process and important considerations for wildfire fuel mitigation using prescribing grazing.

Speakers included RMAC Vice-Chair and UCCE Marin and Sonoma County Director and Livestock Range Management Advisor, Dr. Stephanie Larson; CAL FIRE Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit Battalion Chief Marshall Turbeville; RMAC Chair and professor of Rangeland Ecology & Management in the Animal Science Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Dr. Marc Horney; Owner of Walking C Livestock, Principal of Koopmann Rangeland Consulting, and Area Land Manager for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Clayton Koopman; and Ryan Nielsen of TN Cattle. This workshop was produced with support from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Swanton Pacific Ranch, Fuels and Vegetation Education (FAVE) Training Program.

Supplemental Materials

 

TARGETED GRAZING FOR FUEL REDUCTION: CASE STUDIES FROM EAST BAY REGIONAL PARKS DISTRICT

  • March 16, 2023
    8:30 AM–4:00 PM
    Oakland, California (Alameda County)

This all-day public workshop was an opportunity to learn about targeted grazing with a combination of cattle, sheep, and goats as part of a vegetation management and fuels reduction strategy. Participants improved their understanding of why people might choose targeted grazing as part of a vegetation management and fuels reduction strategy, and how that gets implemented. Fuels Reduction Coordinator at East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD), Steve Keller, explained what is required to manage a grazing contract on a day-to-day basis. Rangeland Specialist at EBRPD, Allison Rofe, discussed the goals of the East Bay Regional Park’s livestock grazing program including treatment, design, permitting pathway, and methodology of partnerships. Star Creek Land Stewards' Bianca Soares highlighted targeted grazers' ability to adapt methods based on project goals and differences in species' grazing styles. This workshop was produced with support from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Swanton Pacific Ranch, Fuels and Vegetation Education (FAVE) Training Program.

Supplemental Materials

TARGETED GRAZING FOR FUEL REDUCTION: CASE STUDIES FROM THE RANCHO JAMUL ECOLOGICAL RESERVE AND HOLLENBECK CANYON WILDLIFE AREA (HCWA)

  • May 8, 2023
    8:30 AM–4:30 PM
    Jamul, California (San Diego County)

This all-day public workshop was an opportunity to learn about targeted grazing with cattle as part of a vegetation management and fuels reduction strategy. Co-sponsored by the California-Pacific Section of the Society for Range Management spring meeting, participants learned about targeted grazing as a vegetation management and fuels reduction strategy in the Wildland-Urban Interface while incorporating conservation values into strategic management. This is the furthest south this kind of grazing management for combined fuels management conservation values is documented to occur in California, about seven miles north of the Mexico border in Jamul, California. Tracie Nelson, Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) and Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve (RJER) biologist, reviewed the context of the grazing project, including property-wide goals and special-status species, including the Burrowing Owl and rare Otay Tarplant; rancher John Mark Austel of 4J Land & Cattle described his grazing planning process, working with partners at RJER and HCWA including CAL FIRE, CDFW, and U.S. Border Patrol, and managing multiple often competing factors; Sarah McCutcheon of the US Geological Survey spoke about the San Diego Management and Monitoring Program for the regional conservation of sensitive species and habitats under the Natural Community Conservation Act; Dr. James Bartolome of U.C. Berkeley professor and Dr. Felix Ratcliff of LD Ford Consultants in Rangeland Conservation Science spoke about the collaborative San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) project in which researchers across a variety of institutions work to understand how grazing and burning affect grasslands and restoration success, and Dr. Bartolome also discussed the development and use of Ecological Site Descriptions; Raul Alvarado of the Natural Resources Conservation Service provided valuable information on NRCS programs, including funding opportunities and technical support for ranchers; CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Pete Scully shared insights into the effectiveness of grazing and other fuels treatments for fire and fuels management; and Matthew Shapero, Livestock and Range Advisor for the U.C. Cooperative Extension in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, shared research behind the science of fuels management and fire danger as it relates to livestock grazing and manipulation of fine fuels. Morning and afternoon refreshments were provided by the San Diego-Imperial County Cattlemen’s Association, and San Diego Cattlewomen’s Association, respectively. This workshop was produced with support from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Swanton Pacific Ranch, Fuels and Vegetation Education (FAVE) Training Program.  

 Supplemental Materials

ECOLOGICAL MANAGEMENT OF FIRE-PRONE LANDSCAPES: PRESCRIBED GRAZING IN THE OJAI VALLEY

  • May 16, 2023
    8:30 AM–4:00 PM
    Ojai, California (Ventura County)

Sponsored by the Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council (OVFSC) and Range Management Advisory Committee, this all-day public workshop was an opportunity to learn about targeted grazing with goats and sheep within the context of OVFSC's multi-stakeholder approach to community-wide fire-safety and ecological resilience working with graziers, fire fighters, ecologists, natural resource experts, community organizations, and U.C. Cooperative Extension. Site visits and grazing demonstrations occurred at the Besant School of Happy Valley and the Thacher School, where grazing with sheep and goats is being utilized to manage fuel loads and fire risk in these high-risk communities.

Chris Danch, Executive Director of the OVFSC shared details about the formation and implementation of the Ojai Valley Community-Supported Grazing Program (CSGP), including relationships with graziers and partners; trade-offs in short-and long-term ecological goals and outcomes; challenges, constraints, and successes; and funding mechanisms. Owner-operator Cole Bush of Shepherdess Land & Livestock spoke about the evolution and intricacies of co-developed goals, grazing planning and management, and monitoring outcomes within an adaptive management framework. Matthew Shapero, Livestock and Range Advisor for the U.C. Cooperative Extension in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, shared research behind the science of fuels management and fire danger as it relates to livestock grazing and manipulation of fine fuels. Tom Maloney, Executive Director of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (OVLC), described local opportunities for prescribed grazing in OVLC’s stewardship programming within the context of ecological stewardship and a fire-safe, fire-ready community. Michael Leicht, owner-operator of Ventura Brush Goats, walked participants through the ins and outs of grazing planning in complex wildfire-urban landscapes. Morning refreshments were provided by local women-owned Pinhole Coffee and sponsored by Cole Bush of Shepherdess Land & Livestock.

 Supplemental Materials

PRESCRIBED HERBIVORY FOR FUELS REDUCTION: GRAZING PLANNING AND PERMITTING IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

  • May 19, 2023
    9:00 AM–12:30 PM
    Webinar

In this workshop, representatives from CALFIRE (Department of Forestry & Fire Protection), Caltrans (Department of Transportation), the CDFW (California Department of Fish & Wildlife), and CP SLO’s (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo) Range Program discussed the steps involved in the development of grazing agreements (‘licenses’) on State lands and beyond. Len Nielson, CAL FIRE Staff Chief for Prescribed Fire and Environmental Protection, provided an in-depth review of CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) processes and requirements. Julea Shaw, Environmental Scientist with the CDFW, spoke about CDFW Excess Vegetation Removal (Grazing) Permit Process. Dr. Marc Horney, Associate Professor at CP SLO, discussed requirements for contracting on State lands and general guidelines for developing applications for fuel reduction projects utilizing grazing. Lisa Worthington, CalTrans Chief of the Office of Vegetation and Wildfire Management, described the process of obtaining a CalTrans encroachment permit for prescribed herbivory. This workshop was produced with support from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Swanton Pacific Ranch, Fuels and Vegetation Education (FAVE) Training Program.

Supplemental Materials 

SALINAS RIVER VEGETATION MANAGEMENT PROJECT: GRAZING FOR FUELS REDUCTION IN A RIPARIAN CORRIDOR

  • May 26, 2023
    8:30 AM–4:30 PM
    Paso Robles, California (San Luis Obispo County)

Sponsored by Althouse & Meade and the Range Management Advisory Committee, this all-day public workshop was an opportunity to learn about targeted grazing in a riparian area with goats in conjunction with mechanical methods to reduce fuel loads in an active riparian area in a first-of-its-kind Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement that provides the mechanism for a long-term grazing plan. Collaborators from the City of Paso Robles’ Fire Department, San Luis Obispo (SLO) Firesafe Council, Althouse & Meade Consulting, and grazing operator The Goat Girls provided insight into this long-term vegetation management project in a California riverbed fuel model. Thank you to Althouse & Meade Consulting for providing a bountiful presentation of refreshments and snacks.  

Beth Reynolds, owner-operator of The Goat Girls, discussed logistics of targeted grazing within the scope of the 100-acre project, grazing post-fire and post-mastication, and the use of sheep and/or goats to achieve desired vegetative goals. Participants viewed areas managed by grazing and a goat grazing demonstration and discussed the necessary supporting infrastructure and equipment. City of Paso Robles' Fire Department Battalion Chief, Jay Enns, provided background on the site history and described how fires in the Salinas Riverbed led to a State of Emergency and multi-faceted approach to reduce fuel load in the short-term with plans to transition to a long-term vegetation management plan. Chief Enns reviewed regulatory hurdles and required permits from the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife for fuels management in a riparian area zoned within city limits on a long-term basis. Dan Turner, Director of SLO Firesafe Council, shared information on funding sources and considerations for administrative support to secure funding for the project. Althouse & Meade's owner-founder Lynnedee Althouse discussed goals of the Salinas River Vegetation Management Project including unique environmental constraints and necessary adaptations for grazing management within a watercourse. Biologist and certified arborist Daniel Keeley described identification and prioritization of fuel reduction areas, grazing needs, and compatibility and/or need for other vegetation methods (e.g., mechanical treatments). Senior biologist and project manager Valerie Mattos described environmental permitting considerations for this grazing project within riparian areas.

Supplemental Materials

PRESCRIBED GRAZING PLANNING FOR WILDLAND FUELS REDUCTION

  • June 6, 2023
    12:30 PM–4:00 PM
    Webinar

In this workshop, participants increased their understanding of how to develop an objectives-based, Grazing Management Plan (GMP) that addresses wildland fuels reduction objectives. Representatives from U.C. Cooperative Extension (UCCE), professional rangeland consulting firms, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and academic institutions dove into the many nuanced requirements and needs in the development of a Grazing Management Plan. Dr. Larry Ford, LDFord Consultants in Rangeland Science, described the similarities, differences, and purposes of GMPs and Resource Management Plans, and Grazing Agreements, and how they interrelate, and described the different kinds of monitoring that may be conducted for different purposes and at different levels of management. Morgan Doran, UC Cooperative Extension Advisor for Livestock and Natural Resources for Ventura County, followed with a summary of objectives and outcome-based grazing planning, trade-offs associated with different goals, and how objectives may vary depending on the institution, environment, and timeline of the grazing project. USDA NRCS Rangeland Management Specialist Alan Bower detailed the information needs and sources for developing a context-based site description to inform the grazing planning, and the role of NRCS and Resource Conservation Districts may play in assisting land managers and livestock graziers. Roxanne Foss, Senior Ecologist with Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting, LLC, followed with a presentation on monitoring and adaptive management, including the development of monitoring plans in alignment with the goals and objectives of the GMP, the different types of monitoring and monitoring metrics, and the role of monitoring results in an adaptive management process. Dr. Marc Horney, Associate Professor of Animal Science at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, reviewed rangeland resource concerns and constraints, types of GMPs, and permitting. Lastly, UC Cooperative Extension Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor and Santa Clara County Director Dr. Sheila Barry brought the various management pieces together, describing the mechanics of putting the plan into practice.

Supplemental Materials

CAL FIRE’s Wildfire Prevention (WP) Grants Program provides funding for wildfire prevention projects and activities in and near fire threatened communities that focus on increasing the protection of people, structures, and communities. In this webinar, CALFIRE and UC Extension specialists explained the ins and outs of applying for the current WP Grant cycle to fund prescribed grazing projects. Details discussed included the application process, when a grazing plan is required, the basics of grazing for fuel reduction, and considerations when planning grazing projects for wildfire fuel mitigation.

These presentations are available due to a partnership between the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection's Range Management Advisory Committee and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Workshop Recording

Event Flyer

Event Webpage

Applying for a Wildfire Prevention Grant

Grazing for Fuel Reduction

Grazing from a Firefighter’s Point of View

 

The Wildfire Prevention Grant is open until March 15th, 2023. Also see the Wildfire Prevention Grants Program.

The Range Management Advisory Committee co-hosted a virtual workshop with the California Fire Science Consortium to discuss the use of prescribed livestock grazing as a tool to support sustainable fuel reduction and environmental management in multi-use landscapes. This year focused on the ins and outs of contract/targeted grazing on public and private lands in the wildland-urban interface and other at-risk communities.

 

Three separate workshops highlighted case studies of successful grazing contracts and partnerships. Sheep, goat, and cattle producers across the Northern, Central, and Southern regions of California shared their experiences conducting grazing projects to manage fuels in a variety of landscapes and contexts, and included John Mark Austel from 4 J Horse & Livestock, Lee Hazeltine and Laura Gunderson from Integrazers, Andrée and Bianca Soares from Star Creek Land Stewards, Cole Bush from Shepherdess Land & Livestock, Jaime Irwin from Kaos Sheep Outfit, and Elizabeth Reikowski from Willow Creek Land & Cattle. Dan Macon from U.C. Cooperative Extension set the stage for the seminar by providing an introduction to targeted, contract, and fee-for-service grazing, with a focus on fire risk mitigation. Contracting entities also shared their experiences, and included representatives from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ojai Valley Community Supported Grazing Program and local Fire Safe Councils, and the Land Trust of Napa County. The final session also included a speaker from Ascent Environmental, which is assisting the Board of Forestry & Fire Protection in the development and funding of Project-Specific Analyses (PSAs) for Cal Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP) projects. The presenters led a discussion on grazing as a covered activity under the CalVTP, funding for completion of PSAs, eligible projects, and the use of the CalVTP Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for CalVTP projects.

 

Full recordings may be viewed at the links below:

 

July 29, 2021

August 5, 2021

August 12, 2021

 

Please see the California Fire Science Consortium event page for further details: https://www.cafiresci.org/events-webinars-source/category/rmac2021

 

In the fall of 2020, the California Range Management Advisory Committee co-hosted a virtual workshop with the California Fire Science Consortium to discuss the use of prescribed livestock grazing  as a sustainable fuel reduction and environmental management tool. Three separate workshops were hosted on the following topics:

  • Wildland Fuels: A Primer for Concerned Citizens & Grazers
  • Using Grazing for Fuels Management 101: Practices & Strategies
  • Organizing Community-Based Wildland Fuels Management Projects: Approaches and Examples

Additional information and links to the recorded sessions can be found at the Fire Science Consortium’s webpage.

 

RMAC News

THE NEXT RMAC MEETING IS SCHEDULED for Tuesday, March 19th at 12:30 PM in person at the California Natural Resources Agency Headquarters at 715 P Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 on the second floor in Conference Room 221-A. Members of the public may attend in person at this or other noticed locations (see agenda), or virtually via GoToWebinar. Please REGISTER HERE.

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

The RMAC is seeking two (2) members to fill seats for organizations representing rangeland owners. Current members in these seats represent the California Cattlemen’s Association, California Wool Growers Association, Farm Bureau (pending vacancy), Wildlands, and U.C. Cooperative Extension. Interested parties should send a Letter of Interest and current Resume or CV to Kristina.Wolf@bof.ca.gov. See the Call for Applications for more information.