HOUSTON – Houston Public Works announced Wednesday that it’s launching an innovative, eco-friendly, pilot program to clear high weeds and grass around detention ponds and in areas with access issues or high slopes.
Houston Public Works will use approximately 150 goats to graze a two-acre detention pond beginning Thursday, Oct. 28.
The pilot program will demonstrate the effectiveness of goats and determine whether the stormwater quality is impacted. The program will be an alternative to traditional mowing and weed prevention with chemicals.
The “team” of goats will graze up to 12 hours over a 10-day period. The goats will also be supervised 24/7 while they are working. Water and a safe sleeping environment will be provided onsite.
The goat rental for the Northline Drive project is about $4,000.
The pilot program, which is funded with tax dollars, has a $50,000 allotment.
“We ask the public not to feed the goats or try to touch them. Signs will be posted to warn of electrified fencing around the area,” said Houston Public Works Director Carol Haddock, PE. “This pilot program has proven to be effective in at least five other cities and in Canada. The program is an alternative to bringing inexpensive equipment to mow areas with steep slopes and will be safer for employees.”
A company called Rent-A-Ruminant, based near Abilene is providing the goats and electrified fencing to keep the animals on site. The firm appears to be doing brisk business within the State of Texas, working for government entities, private firms, even HOAs.
“We travel all over the state, it’s picking up, we’ve been doing it about five years and word has been spreading,” company co-owner, Kyle Carr, said.