SONOMA VALLEY WILDLIFE CORRIDOR
Wildlife-friendly fencing for landowners
One focus of our work in the Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor (partly funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation) is to promote improvements on the landscape that help animals move more freely. With help from our wonderful volunteers, we’ve removed nearly all fencing that impeded and risked entangling animals traveling to and from our Glen Oaks Ranch Preserve, which sits within a critically important wildlife corridor in the valley. Where fences are necessary, such as for containing farm animals, then the design of the fencing can make or break animal passage. Four landowners on Sonoma Mountain, some with cattle operations, agreed to let us make “wildlife-friendly” changes to their fences to see what happened. We replaced woven-wire fence in several sections with fences specifically designed for easier wildlife passage, while keeping cows safely inside. A foreman of one of the landowners put up a couple of his own cameras to watch how the cows reacted.
The foreman recently let us know that “the wildlife-friendly fences were one of the best things that has ever happened.” He was skeptical at first, but now believes there will never be an issue with the cattle. He “garnered great joy in seeing the wildlife passing by his cameras and in simply knowing they can.” Now he and another neighbor plan to replace old fence with wildlife-friendly versions.