For the second summer in a row, Sacramento County is using herds of goats to clear overgrown brush. Officials say that's because goats are environmentally friendly and are a cost-effective alternative to power mowers.
The county has contracted up to 200 goats to clear weeds on county-owned properties this summer. Elizabeth Carrington, an engineer with the Sacramento County Department of Water Resources, says residents may have seen herds grazing in various parts of the county.
“Just south of the fairgrounds over by Cal Expo," she says. "You might see one near American River Drive near Watt Avenue. There’s handful around.”
Carrington says clearing land during the drought helps reduce fire danger. And, goats have some unique benefits over mowers.
"We’ve noticed that the goats when they consume the weeds they don’t spread the seeds, so we’ve seen a decrease in regrowth," she says. "And, also they may be in the basin for a while but we have seen a very positive reaction from the public. "
She also says using goats frees up county maintenance crews to work on other fire suppression projects.