Goats hired to clean steep greenways in Washington

Credit: KING

Goats from Vashon Island's Rent-A-Ruminant clean a steep greenway in Issaquah, Wash., July 4, 2012.

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

WCNC.com

Posted on July 5, 2012 at 7:22 AM

ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- They started every early Wednesday morning, but unless residents of the Issaquah Highlands were paying very close attention, they wouldn't even have noticed the army of landscapers in their greenbelts.

Hungry goats, 125 of them from the Rent-A-Ruminant company on Vashon Island, started chomping away.

No whining mowers, blowers or trimmers. No pesticide sprays. Just the content sounds of chewing goats with the occasional celebratory bleat.

The goats are trimming down thick grass on steep greenways that are too dangerous for people and equipment to tackle. This is more than a purely aesthetic mission. The greenways wind between rows of scores of homes. If neglected, the grass would grow tall and turn brown and dry creating a fire hazard later this summer.

For the last several years the Highlands Neighborhood Association has chosen to go with the safe and environmentally friendly goat method.

Neighbors are warned not to feed the goats and stay back from electrified fences that keep the goats on the job, but many residents can enjoy a front row view to the spectacle from the comfort of their own backyards.

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