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For Immediate Release
June 6, 2013

Malcolm Smith
Public Communications Manager

Goats Helping with Weed Control & Fire Prevention in Redwood City Park 

Redwood City, CA -Starting this weekend, some neighbors just north of Redwood City's Stulsaft Park may see a rather unusual sight - the City will using a herd of goats to reduce the proliferation of weeds, and help with fire prevention as the fire season quickly approaches.

Initially, the herd of about 300 goats will be assigned to an area of the park that will be temporarily fenced, adjacent to Brandy Rock Way and Foothill Street. They'll remain in this area for approximately 10 to 14 days, eating away at the weeds, including star thistle, nettles, poison oak, French broom, mustard, and other invasive plants.

The end result will be a decrease in weeds and non-native and invasive plant species, and a significant reduction in "fuel load" - the dry, spindly plants that grow under trees and allow fire to spread quickly. Since Redwood City does not maintain its own herd of fire-prevention goats, the City has hired California Grazing, a firm which specializes in providing brush and weed control through grazing.

The City has successfully used this technique in the past, and it's been found to be a cost effective, ecologically sound way to clear land and promote growth of native grasses and beneficial plants, particularly for large acreages and difficult terrain - such as that in parts of Stulsaft Park. This method has been proven to efficiently handle areas that are inaccessible or difficult to manage with mowers, in areas where the City would not want to do controlled burns, or in sensitive areas where the application of herbicides is not appropriate.

To control the grazing pattern and keep the goats from wandering, the fencing will have a low-level electric charge - signs have been placed around the area and mailers delivered so that neighbors know not to touch the fence, and to mind their pets and kids when in the vicinity.

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