San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) newest wildfire-fighting partners, approximately 220 goats, are taking a bite out of potential wildfire ignition sources and carbon emissions. Last week, the Company initiated its Goat Grazing pilot program, a vegetation measure that utilizes goats 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.
“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. “Among the factors being evaluated is reducing the repeated abatement sessions within a year in a sustainable manner. The pilot program will be in effect at various locations within the SDG&E service territory this year. Once the evaluation process is completed, an informed decision can be made to further implement prescribed grazing.”
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. Also, goats can be utilized year-round for weed abatement without the risk of igniting fuels in high-fire-risk areas.
The initial grazing area is within SDG&E-owned transmission corridor property in Chula Vista, while other company locations are being considered as well. A San Diego County-based environmental land management company has been hired to staff the grazing goats for the duration of the pilot program.