Conservation grazing is an innovative tool that POST has implemented on several properties, including Driscoll Ranch, in La Honda, and Cloverdale Coastal Ranches, near Pescadero. Used effectively, conservation grazing can go a long way in conserving natural resources on fragile habitat while supporting traditional agricultural land use.
The goal of conservation grazing is to enhance grassland biodiversity through the careful and well-timed placement of cattle on the land. A herd of cattle rotate through various segments of pasture for part of the year, eating away at the dense thatch of dead annual grasses covering hillsides. As the cattle feed, they make room for young native perennial grasses to poke through the thatch and establish themselves on the land, thereby enabling a more natural landscape to flourish.
On Driscoll Ranch, POST implemented a long-term resource management program for conservation grazing to preserve remnants of coastal terrace prairie as well as expanses of native California rye grass and purple needle grass. Such high-impact grazing keeps grass growth at the correct level and rejuvenates the native grasses while controlling invasive species. It also helps control erosion by compacting soils in emerging gullies.