Goats are eco-friendly fire-fighting wonders that produce fertilizer as they weed-whack, clearing high-risk areas of dangerous dry brush. As Jaymi Heimbuch reported over at Treehugger, a hungry herd of goats has recently been employed to clear 30 acres of brush around a wastewater treatment plant in Mesa, Arizona.
They chose the goats because they're a non-polluting alternative that'll eat up just about anything. This is precisely the reason why goats aren't eco-friendly at all when left on their own to roam about the countryside. In fact, they can be extremely damaging. But when used in a controlled situation like this, they're a pretty cool alternative to noisy, fossil-fuel chugging, emissions spewing landscaping machinery. In fact, they even reduce the need for pesticides.
According to the 1947project, the citizens of Los Angeles demanded goats for fire safety last fall after the serious wildfires in the Griffith Park and Hollywood Hills destroyed vast swaths of urban wilderness and wildlife. Indeed, ever since a devastating fire in 1991, UC Berkeley has employed a herd of up to 500 goats who nibble goats graze hillside vegetation down to its desired level of 2 to 4 inches from the ground each summer.
Kristin Underwood of Treehugger recently wrote that Nebraska cattle ranchers, too, are increasingly turning to goats to battle their weeds.
Referred to as "walking weed eaters", the North Platte Telegram reported this morning that cattle will bypass the weeds for the grass, but the goats will go straight for the weeds - eating, trampling and fertilizing the entire pasture. This is important for farmers in a state where it is legally mandated to keep invasive weeds down. It is also great for dairy farmers who get free food, fat/shiny goats and can help keep herbicides out of area land and waterways. The idea is being promoted by the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition as an alternative to using chemicals and pesticides to control weeds. The Nebraska Natural Resources Conservation Service is also getting on board by helping pay area farmers to use goats instead of chemicals.
Check out this slideshow of ever-charming goat firefighting wizards: