This summer, the city of Sammamish will be using goats, sheep and llamas to maintain three stormwater ponds as part of a vegetation maintenance pilot project.
Beginning in May 2012, goats and the other livestock will be eating vegetation that would normally be weeded, wacked and mowed mechanically by city crews, according to a press release from the city.
Such rumination efforts have also been used in other cities, such as Shoreline, which brought in a herd of 250 goats last summer to munch away at hard to control blackberry bushes. Though the animals can be entertaining to watch, residents are discouraged from feeding them, and they will be fenced into their "work" areas.
Some additional information from Sammamish regarding the pilot project follows:
Why is the city using livestock for vegetation maintenance?
The city has traditionally contracted out pond mowing services and is looking into ways to lower costs and improve quality of service.
What stormwater ponds will be part of the pilot project?
Pond 1: Greens at Beaver Crest Tract N (300 block of 238th Ave. S.E.)
Pond 2: Renaissance Division 1 Tract A (23000 block of S.E. Eighth Street, south side)
Pond 3: Beaver Lake Estates Tract E (S.E. 27th Street and 259th Court S.E.)
When will the pilot project begin?
It will begin in May 2012 and continue through October 2012. Livestock will be eating vegetation at two pond sites. Pond 3 (currently unfenced) will have several dozen livestock brought in during the month of June and the month of August. There will be two "mowings" at Pond 3, each lasting several days.
Will the goats be fenced in?
Yes, two ponds are currently fenced with cyclone chain link fencing (Ponds 1 and 2) and electric fencing will be installed on a third site (Pond 3) with a resident goat herder.
Are residents allowed to feed or pet the animals?
Feeding and petting the animals is discouraged due to liability. Please enjoy the goats from behind the fencing!