Sheep Vegetation Management Guidelines

Appendix 1. Characteristics of Sites Acceptable for Use by Domestic Sheep for Vegetation Management

Acceptable sites have the following characteristics:

  • the size of the site is:

    • large enough to sustain sheep for a set period of time.

    • has been evaluated for risk to human safety due to isolation or poor access.

    • have alternate sites available:

      • in close proximity to and at greater distances away from the acceptable project site, should there be a need to relocate the flock due to changes in vegetation or carnivore interaction, respectively.

      • the target vegetation complex is:

        • palatable to domestic sheep;

        • present in sufficient amounts and adequately nutritional for domestic sheep;

        • sprouting at a time that is adequate to sustain sheep for a set period of time;

        • ideally less than l m in height (although some species, such as fireweed, taller than 1 m may also be adequately palatable and tender for consumption);

        • considered for the presence of overgrown brush such as alder that restricts movement of sheep and reduces flock visibility;

        • considered for risk associated with the presence of poisonous plant species;

        • free of noxious weed species that may be spread by the use of sheep through improper timing of grazing or movement to uncontaminated sites;

        • monitored for forage quality and quantity throughout the grazing season; and

        • composed of the appropriate age and species of conifer crop seedlings for sheep browsing.

  • the topography is such that:

    • the amount of slash present does not impede sheep movement;

    • the slope gradient does not impede sheep movement (overall, slopes are < 50%);

    • the ground is not so wet that it restricts sheep or personnel movement, endangers the health of the sheep, or allows unacceptable damage to local habitats; and

    • slope and soil types do not contribute to excess erosion, runoff and soil compaction.

  • the water sources are:

    • suitable in quality and quantity, or a sufficient amount can be transported to the site for sheep use; and

    • if they are used for human consumption, are safe from being contaminated by sheep or sheep feces.

  • riparian management areas (RMA) are identified:

    • to ensure that corral and camp sites are located outside of riparian management areas; and

    • to control grazing on project site outside riparian management areas.

  • staging sites can be identified and be available for arrival and departure of sheep.

  • access by roads and bridges can be identified and are in a suitable condition.

  • the presence of carnivores and key ungulate species and their use of the area are minimal and do not fall into categories summarized in Appendix 2.

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