Oh, When the Goats Go Marching In - Reducing the carbon footprint of our waterways



By Michael Monasky | August 26, 2017

I had to take a photograph to prove the reality that goats were grazing on the bed of Elk Grove Creek Friday night. I wasn't the only sojourner to stop and take note. There was a man and his daughter hiking the bike trail; and a trio of mom, dad, and young son who'd suddenly pulled out of traffic to spy this unusual event.

The city of Elk Grove has channelized creeks running throughout its urbanized center. Those creeks can suffer overgrowth of trees and plant life that clot and obstruct the flow of sudden rains. Lately, those creeks are so restricted that it voted to negotiate with the US Army Corps of Engineers, who oversee waterways, to clear them out. A staff report stipulated clearance by hand, and using some acceptable herbicides, including glyphosate (Monsanto's RoundUp), which I protested.
            
Decades ago, I'd seen neighborhood horses chewing their way along Elk Grove Creek at Emerald Park Drive, near Markofer Elementary School, keeping the creek bed clear of vegetation. Well, apparently the city has revived that tradition with goats. 

A goatherd was supervising a trip of 700 at the Elk Grove Creek-Laguna Springs Drive over crossing. He said his name was Ronald, and he was going to move the goats west of the bridge on Saturday, August 26, 2017. The goats had obliterated anything green on the east side of the bridge, between the electric fences that checked their wandering.
            
The site is just north of the Capital Reserve, a high-density housing project being built on the old Capital Nursery grounds. The trail bridge over the freeway also passes near the WalMart on Elk Grove Boulevard. This agricultural solution is being applied in the center of the city; State Route 99, the Auto Mall, Civic Center, and other Elk Grove landmarks are in the immediate neighborhood.

            
You'll be able to see this tribe of noble beasts clearing the green along the bike/hiking trail just west of the Laguna Springs Drive bridge on Saturday. Bring the kids, but avoid petting and contact with the electric fence. It's a sight to behold, hearkening back to Elk Grove's agricultural heritage; and, I might add, reducing our carbon footprint while improving flood control in our urban streams.




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