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Current Watershed Agricultural Use - Grazing

Agriculture/Land Use: All categories including grazing, farmland, and urban

Most of the Sacramento Valley is agricultural. The light green shading indicates irrigated agriculture in the Sacramento Valley. Much of the agricultural use is irrigated pasture, alfalfa, and other hay for cattle. Much of the county level data is provided by county agricultural commissioners.

The pink shading is existing urban and suburban land, with medium to high residential densities combined with commercial and industrial zoning.

This agricultural and land use map shows the currently high level of agricultural uses of the Sacramento Watershed lands.

Grazing: Private land

Large private lands have recently been converting from grazing uses to residential gated communities. Light yellow shading in this layer represents private lands which are outside of the irrigated agricultural land in the Sacramento Valley at low elevations. Generally, these lands are oak woodland. The parcel size historically has been large, usually larger than a section (640 acres); parcels of several thousands of acres is not uncommon. The land use has been agricultural grazing lands, dominated by cattle grazing. In the late 1800s and through the first half of the 1900s, grazing would be seasonal on these lands through the winter and spring, with great cattle and sheep drives into the mountain lands during the summer and early fall where federal lands (BLM and USFS) had been leased with grazing permits.

These oak woodland private landholdings have come under increasing pressure from development. A number of large scale, medium density gated communities have been built on these lands. An example is provided in the aerial photo provided of Lake of the Pines, located NE of Sacramento at approximately 1200 feet elevation in the oak woodland on what had previously been a several thousand acre hog farm.

Grazing: Private and public land

Higher elevation public lands have been used for grazing seasonally. Dark green shading indicates United States Forest Service (USFS) lands where there are permits issued for grazing. Brown shading indicates Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. These higher elevation lands historically complemented the lower elevation private lands in an era where cattle and sheep drives were held when early summer grazing had depleted much of the supply of grasses and browse in the lower elevations. Grazing permits have become less frequent as a result of dwindling market and both more stringent regulations and increased difficulty in obtaining permits from the federal entities.