Chowing Down for the Public Good

Driving by the intersection of Clarendon Ave. and Laguna Honda Blvd I was stunned to see the hills swarming with goats. Goats!

goats grazing, san francisco

Says the SF PUC:

San Francisco adopted an Integrated Pest Management Ordinance in 1996. This Ordinance commits the City to minimize the use of pesticides and instead use methods that pose a lower risk to public and environmental health. This IPM program has radically changed the way our City staff manages pest insects, rodents, and weeds.

Looking for efficient weed control plus great entertainment? San Francisco has found both by using herds of goats to clear away poison oak and other problem weeds on steep PUC watersheds, open spaces in parks, and in overgrown areas at the airport. Portable electric fences, herding dogs, and shepherds ensure that goats stick to business in target areas.

Of course they mean goatherd, but we get it.

The goats, when they’re doing their job properly and not being distracted by my kids, clear small patches at a time and make firebreaks. Evidently the goats don’t overgraze, and they’re able to get at the invasive European grasses which are choking out the native plants. I couldn’t find the goatherd, only her portable electric fence, but passers-by ruminated that these might be Beor and Spanish goats.

A woman with whom I chatted atop Twin Peaks told me about the hill visible near the Hunters Point shipyards, which in her childhood days was called “Goat Hill” and was, in fact, populated with goats until our fair city banned livestock.

So, if you’re looking for something a bit unusual, head on over and check out the grazing swarm.

1 Comment so far

  1. city goat (unregistered) on August 3rd, 2005 @ 10:15 pm

    while on a jog this afternoon, i was stopped in my tracks for about 10 minutes, waiting for someone to come by to assure me that i wasn’t hallucinating. “what in the world are all those things…” “Are those… dogs?”. I had to get a closer look. I still couldn’t believe my eyes. Sheep? “What are those farm animal things I’ve seen at petting zoo’s called?” My city girl mind just couldn’t figure it out. I then saw an electric fence sign posted on this make sheft “fence”. Hmmm… should i touch it? No, Im a High School teacher! I can’t do something THAT stupid… I started to walk away when i saw another sign that said, “Goats working”. What? Ok so they are goats.. in the middle of the freakin city, chomping on blackberry bushes and braving the steep terrain. But now they are “working”? What… are they doing some seismic renovation? Picking up trash? Did they commit some type of goat crime? I gotta get outta here…I picked up the pace and ran home. What sort of warp did i just find myself in?

    I later consuletd my mac and discovered what REALLY is going on out there …. Ye Beware.

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