Wildfire problems? Send in the goats!
Sunday, June 8, 2014, 7:11 PM - Forget firefighters. Goats might be the answer to the severe wildfire seasons in California. In Central Costa County, a herd of goats are part of a three year study to determine the benefits of using goats instead of other methods of mowing and herbicides. The animals are also helping with flood protection.
The 200 goats working the Central Costa County are part of a herd of 8000 based in Orinda. The Goat-R-Us ranch has been specializing in this sort of activity for five years. Their livestock are mostly used for fuel mitigation, thistle eradication and more importantly brush reduction. The goats work in herds of several sizes alongside a shepherd and a border collie.
The animals eat most vegetation available including plants difficult to remove by hand like poison oak.
The only downside to using goats for grass and weed abatement so close to an important water supply is possible contamination. But so far the water does not seem to be compromised.