You Kids get off my Lawn!   Leave a comment

It looks like the Heavy-Meadow, hard working sheep of Fort Ord have some competition: The B-a-a-a-D Boys of landscape maintenance, domestic goats (Capra aegagrus hircus), are on duty at Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, on public lands in South-Western Utah. (Even though it’s sheep, not goats, that actually say “Baa”. Goats make more of a ‘Bleat” sound). About 200 goats are helping to prevent wildfires by eating the underbrush and overgrowth that, if caught in a fire, acts as fuel causing larger and more destructive fires. It’s not certain if Smokey the Bear was thinking of goats when he said “Only YOU can prevent forest fires”.

The main concern in the area (or as the goats see it, the main course in their meal; also the appetizer, salad and dessert courses), is something called cheatgrass– a particularly aggressive, weedy, invasive and to most animals bad-tasting species that grows in almost any soil and has wide-spreading, deep roots that are very hard to control. As a non-native plant (it’s originally from Europe and about 100 years ago hopped a ride to America by hiding in ship cargo), it has no natural predators and can easily take over any open area, in time altering the environment so native plants and animals can no longer find the food and shelter they need. But as we know, there’s not much a goat won’t eat and for them this cheatgrass is nothing but a big buffet. So while sheep are great for grazing on fresh green grass, they might not be able to keep up with these new KIDS on the turf.

Domestic goat WIKI

“B-L-E-A-T it, just B-L-E-A-T it,
We’ll eat grass till it’s depleted
No weed or leaf can hide from our sight
Don’t need to ask, just be forthright and
B-L-E-E-A-A-T it

 

Posted June 20, 2012 by ECOVIA eco-adventure® in ECOVIA Central

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