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Prescribed herbivory for fuels reduction: grazing planning and permitting in the State of California

Friday, May 19, 2023, 9:00am to 12:30pm

As the State of California has ramped up investments to increase fuel treatments to manage high fuel loads and reduce wildfire risk, the use of livestock to treat fuels has received increased attention. A variety of funding sources are 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, 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. Topics included requirements for contracting on State lands, CalTrans encroachment permits, CDFW grazing agreements, CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) processes and requirements, and general guidelines for developing applications for fuel reduction projects utilizing grazing. 

Webinar Agenda
Time Item
9:00 Webinar begins
  Marc Horney: Context for State agencies’ requirements/desires
  Len Nielson: Scenario-based CEQA overview for prescribed grazing or herbivory 

Julea Shaw: Navigating the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Excess Vegetation Removal (Grazing) Permit Process



  Lisa Worthington: Caltrans Vegetation Management Program and Understanding the Encroachment Permit Process
  Q&A and disucssion

Webinar ends


Marc Horney, Professor, Rangeland Ecology & Management

Marc Horney has been professor of Rangeland Ecology & Management in the Animal Science Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo since fall, 2009. Prior to that he was California Area 1 Range Management Specialist for the USDA-NRCS, and member of NRCS’ Klamath Basin Watershed Team. He got his start in Cooperative Extension, first with Colorado State University as an agriculture agent in El Paso County and later as a Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor for the University of California Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources. He has been chair of the California Range Management Advisory Committee to the California Resources Agency under the Board of Forestry since 2008. He is a member of the Society for Range Management (SRM), the Wildlife Society (TWS), and the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS). Marc earned a Ph.D. in ruminant nutrition and rangeland ecology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters degree in ruminant nutrition with a minor in rangeland management at Oregon state, and his Bachelor’s degree in animal science with minors in philosophy and speech communication at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Marc’s current work has to do with managing grazing animals for environmental quality objectives, and improving methods of monitoring the results of those and other land management practices.


Len Nielson, Staff Chief - Prescribed Fire and Environmental Protection 

I have worked in the Forestry Profession and Natural Resources since 1994. I graduated from Humboldt State University in California with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management, and I am a Registered Professional Forester #2792. I have been working for CAL FIRE for the last eighteen years and I am the Program Manager for the Prescribed Fire and Environmental Protection Program. I review the CAL FIRE CEQA, Programmatic EIR documentation, and Prescribed fire plans as well as, conduct/assist with prescribed fires and cultural burning with various Units and cooperators in the State.  In March of 2022 I was one of the co-authors of the Strategic Plan for Expanding the use of Beneficial Fire, through the Governors Forest and Fire Resilience Task Force to achieve many of the States goals for building a more resilient California.  

Julea Shaw, Environmental Scientist at California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lands Program  

Dr. Julea Shaw is an Environmental Scientist at California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Lands Program. She helps coordinate statewide programs on CDFW lands, including reviewing grazing site operation plans to ensure they meet the Department’s biological resource management goals. Prior to her time at the Department, she earned her Ph.D. in Ecology at University of California, Davis. She conducted her dissertation research, which focused on grassland restoration and management, under the guidance of Dr. Leslie Roche, a Cooperative Extension Specialist in Rangeland Science and Management at UC Davis, and Dr. Elise Gornish, a Cooperative Extension Specialist in Restoration at the University of Arizona.

Lisa Worthington, Chief Vegetation and Wildfire Management, Caltrans HQ Division of Maintenance

Lisa Ann Worthington is the Chief of Vegetation and Wildfire Management in the Division of Maintenance at Caltrans. Lisa was born and raised in the mid-Atlantic east coast earned a degree from University of Pennsylvania in Planning and relocated to California in the 1990’s to complete a Masters of Landscape Architecture at the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona, where the principles of regenerative design and public works projects at a landscape-scale clarified her career path. Her early professional work in the private sector included community planning and environmental analysis for Crosby, Mead, Benton Engineering, Rincon and Associates, and Wallace Roberts & Todd.  Seeking a transition to the public sector, Lisa accepted a position as a Landscape Architect preparing wetland and riparian mitigation design for Caltrans in 2005. In 2011, she brought her natural systems knowledge to Caltrans Headquarters. Now, on a day-to-day basis, she manages an expanding team of 10-18 cross-disciplinary, professional staff which includes 8 program areas and an annual allocation of $83.78M. As public land stewards of the state highway, the team uses scientific data at the watershed scale to enable natural resource management decisions for both naturally-occurring vegetation (168,000 acres) and landscape improvements (33,000 acres) within the Caltrans right of way.  

Kristina Wolf, Environmental Scientist for the Board of Forestry & Fire Protection 

Dr. Kristina M. Wolf, Environmental Scientist for the Board of Forestry & Fire Protection (‘Board’), manages the activities and business of the Range Management Advisory Committee (RMAC), a statutory committee which advises the Board of Forestry on rangeland resources, along with being a Certified Range Manager in the State of California. She addresses range policy, resource needs, and issues surrounding resources on working rangeland throughout California. She has a BS in Animal Science, a MS in Soil Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and a PhD in Ecology from UC Davis, with a focus on the ecology, economics, and social considerations of rangeland management in California. Dr. Wolf coordinates regular public meetings of the RMAC up to eight times per year, works with stakeholders and partners to address rangeland needs across the State, assists in communications between the Board, RMAC, and advised agencies, and works with partners to develop an annual range-related public education and outreach series.   

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