Elk Grove's Public Works Crew is getting larger and a little hairier. Heavy winter rains caused the weeds to grow like crazy, but the City's new maintenance crew-up to 7,000 grazers-are ready to eat away this wildfire risk. Beginning in June, the herd will clear about two to four acres per day.
Why Choose Grazing Management Over Traditional Weed Abatement?
There is no better natural or "green" way to accomplish such an important environmental task than to weed abate open space with livestock. With the use of goats and/or sheep the City of Elk Grove is reducing the need for manual removal or mechanical means.
The livestock used by the City's grazing management contractor,Integrazers, have the additional benefit not just reducing fire risk, but also include reduced soil erosion, improved air and water quality, and less impact to fish and wildlife habitats.
Environmental Benefits of Grazing Management
There are a multitude of environmental benefits to grazing management:
- Ecologically balanced and economically practical;
- Safe recovery periods for native grass and reduction of invasive plant species;
- Natural nitrates deposited into the soil creating a biological filter to restore nutrients passing through the soil;
- Control of erosion from water runoff and improved water quality;
- Improved vegetation along water banks and increased watershed health.
Keep invasive plant species out of Elk Grove Creeks
If your property abuts to one of the many creeks in Elk Grove where grazing management occurs please be sure not to offer any of your backyard garden spoils to the herd. "Most of the plants used in gardens and landscaping do not invade wildlands and harm wildlife," said Andrea Fox, California Farm Bureau Federation. "But a few species can-and do-escape from cultivated areas into open landscapes and cause serious ecological problems."
Things to Know About the Herd
While working along the creeks you may see the herd, however do not approach the fence or touch the fencing. The contractor uses both electric fencing and herding dogs to protect livestock. While the herding dogs are friendly, when the fencing is up, they are there to guard the herd. Please do not try and touch the fence or pet the herd or dogs.
Fun Facts About the Animals
- Goats browse, sheep graze;
- Goats have four stomachs;
- A baby goat is called a "kid" and the act of giving birth is called "kidding;"
- Goats have a hierarchy and tend to be lead a "Queen;"
- The herd can typically eat between 2-4 acres per day depending on foliage density
For More Information
- California Rangeland Conservation Coalition
- California Cattlemen's Association
- University of California
- The Work Family Guest Ranch
Robert Hendershot, Grassland Management Systems Conservationist USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service