A job they can sink their teeth into | NevadaAppeal.com

A job they can sink their teeth into

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Paco the goat, along with a herd of about 19 of his fellow four-legged weed whackers from Fallon, works to create a firebreak at the top of Combs Canyon on Wednesday.

A small herd of goats is leaving Carson City after munching their way through sections of the foothills.

The 20 goats finished their final grazing in the area – at least for this season – near the intersection of Timberline and Westwood drives Wednesday, said Ann Bollinger, the city’s open space assistant.

Kori Oesterling, who lives on a nearby street, took her two children to visit the goats and their handlers on Tuesday.

“They are really friendly,” Oesterling said about the goats, one of which “rubbed up against our 6-year-old son, Markus, like a cat.”

The goats’ last Carson City assignment was to create a 100-foot-wide and 1,400-foot-long separation between homes and wildland growth on state land so fire dangers would be lessened for eight families near there.

Gloria Montero, rancher and owner of the Fallon-based business Weed Warriors, led a larger goat graze to get rid of noxious weeds in Kings Canyon last month before bringing a small group of goats from Kings Canyon to the Timberline area.

Payment for the job was the same: $2 to $4 per adult goat for each day of work.

The goats started munching in the area on Friday. Montero started Timberline with just 10 goats but added 10 more to get the work done.

Timberline was identified as a high-priority area for fuels reduction because of the heavy vegetation, and was an area burned during the 2004 Waterfall fire, Bollinger said.

This was the city’s first year using goats for land management so they’ve been learning plenty about these animals. They enjoy eating brush more than sheep do – a good thing for them because the city is considered a brush area overall, in spite of the various forms of vegetation, Bollinger said.

Goats also enjoy a wider variety of plants than the sheep and “don’t mind thistles and stickers,” she said. “And they really enjoy roses.”

“We hope to see sheep or goats grazing around the city next year,” Bollinger said. “But it depends on funding.”

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.