Goat Grazing for Weed Abatement Pilot Program Launched in Laguna Niguel
~ City of Laguna Niguel Civic Alert
Message from the City of Laguna Niguel (Mar 4): "The City of Laguna Niguel is happy to announce that it will be utilizing goat grazing as part of its Weed Abatement Program in select areas as a proactive method of fire prevention. This will be an effective, efficient and eco-friendly method of Fire Fuel Weed Control."
Featured Photo: (L-R): Council Member John Mark Jennings, Council Member Elaine Gennawey, Mayor Laurie Davies, Council Member Sandy Rains, Sage Environmental Group owner Alissa Cope, Mayor Pro Tem Fred Minagar.
LINK: Civic Alert
WHEN: March – June 2020
WHERE: Reef Park, Kite Hill, La Hermosa Park, and La Vita
CONTACT: Jerry Sollom, Parks and Landscape Maintenance Superintendent
(949) 362-4349 work (949) 795-1537 cell
MEDIA COVERAGE: OC Register
The city's civic alert provides links to FAQs and a MAP of where the goats will be grazing during the spring season.
Residents are invited to view goat grazing from hiking trails near the work areas during daylight hours. Heed the warning signs. Do Not Touch Electric Fence.
Currently, goat grazing is at La Hermosa Park. The city's webpage civic alert will be updated with real-time goat grazing locations once they are relocated.
Managing fire fuel weeds is an important part of reducing fire threat and fire intensity. In addition, it is extremely critical in the defensible space surrounding homes and buildings.
~ City of Laguna Niguel
~ Meet and Greet at the Laguna Niguel Civic Center
To kick off this goat grazing pilot program, the city invited their new weed abatement contractor, Sage Environmental Group, to visit the civic center ..... and bring a few goats!
Alissa Cope, owner of Sage Goat Grazing, and Carson Helton, Field Director, arrived with two adorable juvenile goats named "Disney" and "Rocky." The two goats charmed their hosts and were happy to be fed treats of hay and pose for photos.
This meet and greet was a great opportunity for city officials and others to learn more about the benefits of goat grazing for weed abatement and how the program will work as a fire prevention method at four sites on city-owned property. Some benefits are:
- Natural weed control method that does not harm the environment.
- Targets and consumes unwanted vegetation, leaving behind cleared terrain.
- Helps the ecosystem to recover by removing invasive and non-native plants.
- Goats graze large acreage and steep areas where mechanical control is not feasible.
We are the only environmental consulting firm that owns and manages an in-house herd of goats, which makes us unique within the ecological conservation and weed abatement sector. Our approach to goat grazing is targeted and effective in order to eradicate invasive, fire-prone weeds while avoiding desired native plants that are critical to habitat restoration goals.
~ Alissa Cope, owner, Sage Environmental Group
~ Goat Grazing at Reef Park in Laguna Niguel
The first week of goat grazing kicked off after a few days of heavy rain. The targeted invasive black mustard was thick and tall. The goats unloaded from their carrier and eagerly started munching away. They cleared a large area with ease, then settled down after dark to digest. The first two photos depict the weeds before and after goat grazing.