cattle grazing on open space land

Midpen uses conservation grazing to manage fuel (flammable vegetation) for fire protection; enhance the diversity of native plants and animals; help sustain the local agricultural economy; and foster the region's rural heritage.

Grazing Management Policy Amendment

Midpen is updating its Grazing Management Policy with a science-based amendment guiding proactive prevention of, and effective responses to, livestock-wildlife interactions.

Find out more about the Midpen Grazing Management Policy Amendment

Where does Conservation Grazing Occur?

Since 2007, Midpen has leased more than 11,000 acres to ranchers for conservation grazing, a valuable tool for managing large coastal grasslands to benefit plants, wildlife and people on portions of these 5 preserves:

  • Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve
  • Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve
  • Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve
  • Tunitas Creek Open Space Preserve
  • La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve

Tips for Hiking among Grazing Animals

What are the Benefits of Conservation Grazing?

  • Coastal grasslands are one of the most diverse ecosystems in the country, and one of the rarest. They evolved with historic grazing wildlife herds and periodic fires intentionally set by Native Americans, and require such disturbances to maintain health, otherwise they are lost to introduced species, shrubs and forest. Cattle now provide this. 
  • Grazing is an effective way to reduce wildland fire fuels. Cattle eat dry vegetation across many acres, often on steep terrain which may be inaccessible to other treatment options.
  • Conservation grazing supports viable, local, sustainable agriculture. 

Agriculture on the San Mateo Coast

Agricultural production on the San Mateo Coast has a rich history.  Today, small family owned farming and ranching businesses play a role in the coastal economy, production of locally sourced food, and continuing the agricultural heritage of the area.

The District, as part of the Coastside Protection Area Service Plan, has committed to conserving open space and agricultural land, preserving agricultural operations on the coast, and encouraging viable agricultural use of District owned lands.  Much of the District owned lands along the San Mateo Coast are leased to local ranchers who graze livestock under the District’s Conservation Grazing Program.

For more information contact Senior Resource Management Specialist Coty Sifuentes-Winter at 650-691-1200.

Grazing on Open Space Land