San Diego

Goats Hired by SDG&E for Wildfire-Fighting Pilot Program

Stock image of some goats.
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Around 220 goats are helping San Diego Gas & Electric take a bite out of potential wildfire ignition sources and carbon emissions.

The utility's Goat Grazing pilot program utilizes the animals to clear brush and other vegetation-ignition sources around electric infrastructure. The program, a first of its kind for the utility, is designed to help keep communities safe from potential utility-related wildfires.

The Tribe of goats was kind enough to let NBC 7's Danny Freeman get in the way of their fire prevention work for this live report.

"This is the first SDG&E program to explore an alternative concept to reduce flammable fuels within open space transmission corridors," said SDG&E Landscape Project Manager Bill Click. "The pilot program will be in effect at various locations within the SDG&E service territory this year.''

Click said once the evaluation process is completed, a decision can be made to further implement the program, which was initiated last week.

According to a company statement, some of the environmental benefits of goat grazing include keeping corridors open, preventing the spread of noxious weeds and promoting the growth of local vegetative species through moderate grazing.

A farm in Middle Grove, New York, has seen business skyrocket thanks to a new option on their snowshoe trail: goats! "Into The Woods Farm" owner Phaedra Zoe Stasyshyn says she had no idea how popular it would be, especially during a pandemic. Snowshoers choose the length of the trek, and whether to have goats or not. Most people choose the goats.

The initial grazing area is within SDG&E-owned transmission corridor property in Chula Vista, and other company locations are also being considered. The goat herd and the staffing have been secured through a contract with San Diego County-based environmental land management company for the duration of
the pilot program.

SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, an energy services holding company based in San Diego.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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