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Lighting Seattle since 1905 Jorge Carrasco, Superintendent
Vegetation Management Project with goats
 
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FAQ

In April 2005 the Seattle Parks Department used goats to solve a vegetation management problem at York Park in Renton. Read the press release.

Sustainable Use of Goats as a Vegetation Management Tool by E. Nelson Escobar, Langston University, Langston, OK.

Using Goats for Vegetation Management By Brian Bull, published by the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.
North Substation
natural vegetation management


Seattle City Light plans to bring goats to the Roosevelt neighborhood again to continue to clear brush and blackberries around the North substation, 814 NE 75th Street. The goats were used by City Light in September 2006 to begin the clearing and were successful in opening pathways along the north fence boundary as well as several pathways up the steep rocky slope. Using the animals to manage blackberries and other invasive plant overgrowth may sound unconventional, but it's not new to Seattle or to many parts of the U.S. Several local agencies have used goats to clear brush in areas where conventional methods will not work as effectively.


Seattle City Light's vegetation management group is using a herd of goats from Healing Hooves, LLC, a natural vegetation-management company from Eastern Washington. The substation's northern boundary has long been badly overgrown. In September 2006 the goats exposed the northern boundary fence for the first time in years. The one-acre rocky slope was an impenetrable thicket of blackberry, ivy and Scotch broom.

"The alternatives of clearing brush mechanically or with pesticides were rejected," said Betsey Searing, landscape supervisor for Seattle City Light. "The slope is steep with large, irregular rocks, making it dangerous for people to work safely. Mechanical equipment cannot reach far enough to do the job. It would require a large amount of herbicide to kill the vegetation and would leave a large mass of dry vegetation that could be a fire hazard. There also could be a danger of overspray reaching adjacent property."

Goats are browsers, meaning they prefer to eat the leaves of shrubs and bushes, leaving plant roots intact. This protects the soil from erosion. In addition, the thorns that make blackberries such a challenge for hand clearing don't seem to bother the goats.

Healing Hooves, LLC plans to use about 250 female goats with their kids in a two-phase approach to pare back the vegetation. While they're browsing, the goats stomp down the dried canes and brambles, making it easier for City Light personnel to finish removing the brush.

The goats are kept in a fenced enclosure and will not roam outside of the area to be cleared except as they transit to a trailer where they'll spend each night. The shepherd uses a Border Collie dog to help herd the goats back and forth, and a portable electrified livestock fence keeps the goats away from the substation's electrical equipment and traffic in the street. The rest of the area is enclosed by a chain link fence that is always in place around the substation grounds.

The goats scheduled arrival is the week of June 25, 2007 however the exact day has not been determined. If you have additional question, please contact Betsey Searing, City Light Vegetation Management (206) 386-1650.
 
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Photo Gallery



Before
Slope next to North Substation


Goats
at North Substation


Before
Undergrowth

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