Four-legged firefighters

Heavy rains brought above-average weed growth this year in Palo Alto wetlands

The city workforce now includes goats.

Hired by the City of Palo Alto as a fire-prevention method, the goats have been deployed to maintain the berm around the 15-acre pond in the Emily Renzel Wetlands northeast of U.S. Highway 101.

A series of small temporary fences keep them focused on the berm and away from sensitive areas and nesting sites, according to the city.

"We couldn't be happier with these guys," said Howard Yancey, the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant's assistant manager. "They'll eat even the toughest weeds without any noise or pollution."

The herd is managed by Living Systems Land Management, under contract with the city. A full-time goat herder ensures the goats have plenty of water.

This year's heavy rains brought above-average weed growth, city officials said.

Photos by Galen Stolee and Karen White.


Like this comment
Posted by Jo Killen
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 10, 2010 at 10:46 am

I saw the goats this week on my way to Shoreline. They were happily chomping away at the grasses. We so rarely see goats in our urban environment that it brought me great joy. And I applaud the wisdom of the city on cutting the grass without mowers or gasoline, AND the goats leave little packets of nitrogen that replenish the earth's soil. BRAVO for the GREEN goats.

Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of University South
on Sep 10, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Cute little critters! Let's just hope the electric fence keeping them in doesn't start a fire itself.

Like this comment
Posted by Gotmygoat
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Love the goats! Sorry to hear about the electric fence but it calms my worries that they might wander onto the road or highway.

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