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Augusta residents, officials see progress in goat project

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 4:19 PM
Last updated Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 5:19 AM
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In just more than a week since nine goats were assigned to eat overgrown vegetation at an Augusta detention pond, officials and residents are already noticing a difference.
Zachary Bell, whose Sanderling Drive house sits in front of the pond, says he has had no issue with the neighborhood’s additions.

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Goats used to graze on unwanted vegetation as a way to reduce mosquito breeding grounds are part of a city experiment. Residents already are praising their work.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Goats used to graze on unwanted vegetation as a way to reduce mosquito breeding grounds are part of a city experiment. Residents already are praising their work.

“You can really tell where they’ve been eating,” Bell said. “They haven’t made it all the way up to my house yet, but so far what the goats have done looks great. It’s going better than I expected.”

Environmental Health Manager Randy Wishard has checked on the goats a number of times since they went to work Aug. 13.

However, because Wishard is still waiting on a gate key from the Augusta Engineering Department, the health manager says it’s difficult to get an exact idea of how fast the goats are working.

“Overall, they look great. They really do,” he said. “They’re eating and drinking well, and from what I can tell, the (2.8-acre site) already looks better. I’ll know a lot more once I’m able to get inside the fence.”

Bell, who lives less than 20 yards from the detention pond fence, says the goats keep to themselves.

“They haven’t been a distraction,” he said. “The goats are quiet and don’t bother any of us. Crickets are louder at night than they are.”

Modeled after similar efforts using goats or sheep to graze on unwanted vegetation in other cities, Augusta’s goat project was suggested in January at a meeting of the Richmond County Board of Health to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.

Augusta Commission member Marion Williams, who serves on the health board, took the idea in May to the commission, which authorized the purchase of a few goats.

In total, Augusta has more than 700 detention ponds, with limited resources aside from occasional inmate labor to keep them maintained, according to the city’s Engineering Services department.

“When it comes to the goats, this whole thing is experimental,” said Fred Koehle, the special projects manager for Richmond County Mosquito Control. “Will it take them a month to get it done? Will it take six weeks? The bottom line is we don’t know. But if it works, we’ll definitely consider locating more goats at detention ponds throughout the county. Some of the detention ponds in Richmond County haven’t been cut in a year.”

Koehle says he made three trips to check on the goats.

“So far, it’s been very positive,” he said. “The goats have a hierarchy when it comes to eating … they start with the tallest grass because it has more flavor and work their way to the short stuff. I’m hoping it won’t be long before they eat everything to the nub.”

Comments (11) Add comment
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soapy_725
44144
Points
soapy_725 08/22/14 - 05:59 am
0
0
Naaa Naaa Naaa. Free food and housing. The American Dream
Unpublished

Next they may be spewing fire and defecating Lotto Cash.

soapy_725
44144
Points
soapy_725 08/22/14 - 06:00 am
0
0
Got your goat, yet. Bring the National Guard Goat Team home
Unpublished

from Afghanistan. "A goat in every pot"-- FDR

IBeDogGone
3015
Points
IBeDogGone 08/22/14 - 08:33 am
4
0
Can't Get A Key to the Gate

This is typical RC cannot implement and complete a process!

Proud2Serve
466
Points
Proud2Serve 08/23/14 - 01:30 am
6
0
Goats

I had goats as a kid when I lived in Beech Island. They will eat everything down to the dirt if you leave them there long enough. They are very efficient eaters.

This is a very good idea for managing the vegetation.

corgimom
38742
Points
corgimom 08/23/14 - 02:35 am
1
2
What Proud said, they will

What Proud said, they will eat it bare if not carefully managed.

Riverman1
94247
Points
Riverman1 08/23/14 - 03:40 am
6
0
Great project!!!

Great project!!!

geecheeriverman
4793
Points
geecheeriverman 08/23/14 - 04:04 am
6
0
the key

The goats must have eaten the key. Maybe we need to hire a Manager of the keys dept.

Dixieman
17589
Points
Dixieman 08/23/14 - 04:34 am
2
3
I love Augusta

"Goat Project Looks Good" is the #1 story in the paper today.
Sheeeeesh.

Proud2Serve
466
Points
Proud2Serve 08/23/14 - 06:04 am
6
0
With all the bad news

We need some good news in Augusta. Why not this? LOL!

hoptoad
21854
Points
hoptoad 08/23/14 - 07:01 am
3
0
It's nice to see some good

It's nice to see some good news and some humor now and then. As long as we don't lose sight of the important things going on in our country.

Stunned 2
6326
Points
Stunned 2 08/23/14 - 07:29 am
5
0
FYI:Female goats (Nannies) will babysit other goats young kids

They take turns watching after the little ones. One nannie will stand guard, while other mothers go off to eat. (Hence, we call the human equivalent a 'Nanny').

soapy_725
44144
Points
soapy_725 08/23/14 - 07:46 am
0
0
Naaa Naaa Naaa. Free food and housing. The American Dream
Unpublished

Naaa Naaa Naaa. Free food and housing. The American Dream

gargoyle
21104
Points
gargoyle 08/23/14 - 10:08 am
3
0
Hire the right employees for

Hire the right employees for the job, monitor and get out of the way. What a refreshing concept introduced into city business.

corgimom
38742
Points
corgimom 08/23/14 - 12:37 pm
2
0
It would be a change,

It would be a change, gargoyle, wouldn't it?

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