During the month of June, 275 sheep will be cropping the grasses and brush across five City of Santa Barbara parks: Hale Park in the Eucalyptus Hill neighborhood, Parma Park off the 192, Laurel Canyon Park above San Roque, Franceschi Park in the Riviera, and most visibly at Mission Historical Park off Alameda Padre Serra.
The herd will graze across 25 acres in total to help City Fire keep defensible space between the open spaces and nearby homes should wildfire approach. Before the sheep arrive, biologists will survey for sensitive plants and any nesting birds, to identify and mark no-go areas for the animals.
“Grazers won’t distinguish between the plants we want to keep and those we want to remove, so we are taking an active step in protecting those plants before bringing the animals into the parks,” said Monique O’Conner, the city’s open space planner.
The grazing animals will spent only a few days in each location before being moved on. Updates will be posted @sbparksandrec. For those who can’t get enough, sheep are currently grazing at the nonprofit Elings Park along the hillsides overlooking the ocean.
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