Alameda County Rangeland Resilience Pilot Project (with funding from a State Coastal Conservancy – Climate Ready grant) – Officially launched in 2015, the Rangeland Resilience Project will improve distribution of livestock water sources on public lands to enhance habitat, grazing operations, and resilience under climate stressors (e.g., drought). The Conservation Partnership is collaborating with East Bay Regional Park District, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and a grazing manager to develop water where it is needed for livestock to manage vegetation in the Sunol Regional Wilderness. Three spring re-development projects and associated livestock troughs have been planned. A fourth spring and at least two pond restoration projects are in development.
The Project seeks to:
- Repair and redistribute water resources on naturalized annual grasslands in the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay hills,
- Help maintain appropriate grazing levels for rangeland ecosystem health.
- Provide resiliency to disturbances including climate change and drought.
|Above, Degraded pond and trough.
Water distribution is a valuable tool for regulating grazing, as cattle movement across a landscape is closely tied to the location of water (Ganskopp 2001, Barry et al. 2016). When water is not adequately distributed, grazing may become concentrated near available water sources, while forage in areas without water may become overgrown and prone to encroachment by undesirable vegetation, reducing habitat for some
wildlife (Barry et al. 2015, 2016). As water sources become less reliable in the face of predicted climate stressors, more livestock water options must be made available on California’s rangelands.
Comprised of three major components, the Project is aimed at increasing resilience to climate uncertainties and improving grazing practices through:
- Rehabilitation and redistribution of water resources — focusing on developed springs and existing livestock ponds
- Monitoring of rehabilitated areas for efficacy of watering facility improvements
- Outreach to inform land managers of the Project outcomes, and how these outcomes might guide best management practices for grazing on naturalized annual grasslands
Implementation year: 2015 – Present
Project Status: Ongoing
Primary Contact(s): Ian Howell
Partners: SFPUC, East Bay Regional Parks
Links: Grasslands Magazine, Sunol Signage