You have to be kidding right? Nope. You read that title correctly. A motley crew of young and old, cross bred Angora, Pygmy, Alpine and Spanish goats are at this very moment munching away at the overgrown brush, that resides on the slopes of SF Water’s University Mound Reservoir. This is not the result of a local urban farming project turned renegade, but instead a very intentional part of SF Water’s awarding winning Integrated Pest Management program.
The goal being to reduce the fire hazard of brush and weeds around the North and South basins, in the most environmentally friendly manner. In otherwords. Instead of using a bunch of hired humans with gas powered machines to stumbled awkwardly along the steep slopes. Goats, who are much better designed at navigating the terrain, are deployed for a few days to clean up unwanted plant material.
I was fortunate enough to catch Jerilyn Downing, SF Water’s landscape manager, at the site and she answered some of my questions. Once a year (Jerilyn wishes it was twice) SF water pay for the use of goats to clear brush from around their sites all over San Francisco. This morning a truck with 275 hungry goats were unloaded into the Woolsey St side of the South Basin. Here they will spend a few days, with their trusty goat herder and dog, chewing away the grasses and weeds that grow. Plus consuming a bit of the trees in the process. Goats really do eat anything. There are also another 300 over at Twin Peaks and a total of around 1,000 in San Francisco.
It’s worth noting the constantly blogged about Bernal Hill has no. Zero. NONE goats at all. Take that Bernal Heights. For once the Portola has something up on you!
So where do these goats come from? Why Goats-R-Us of course. Where else would you expect to hire goats specifically bred for the purpose of “fuel mitigation and star thistle eradication” who have “gained quite a reputation for brush reduction”. No, seriously, there is a Goats-R-Us. Check it out. http://goatsrus.com/
So if you want to catch San Francisco at its environmentally finest and reduce some of your “Nature Seperation Anxiety”, head down to the reservoir over the next days.
However, at the request of SF Water, Goats-R-Us and plain common sense. DO NOT FEED THE GOATS. Please leave them be, to their job.