Hospital Receives Goats to Help Maintain Weeds, Vegetation
April 12, 2009
The county's Regional Medical Center got a new pair of four-legged friends this weekend to gobble up highly flammable brush on the center's 13.5-acre campus in Martinez.
The goats, on indefinite loan from Byron Boys Ranch, are tasked with controlling weeds and other vegetation growth at the hospital, which is operated by Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS). The animals are a part of the latest move by CCHS to become more eco-friendly.
"They're going to help protect the hospital against wildfires," said Larry Carlson, Facilities Manager at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center. "This is a real novel idea. It's green, it's proactive and it'll save money. Every weed they eat is a weed our gardeners won't have to pull."
According to Carlson, the medical center is the first hospital in the area to employ goats for vegetation control. The idea for the goats stemmed from a move two years ago by the Board of Supervisors that limited the use of pesticides in county operations.
Tanya Drlik, who coordinates the county's Integrated Pest Management program for CCHS, said, "Goats can be a great alternative to pesticides, which we want to avoid around sensitive areas like hospitals."
Integrated Pest Management uses environmentally friendly strategies that focus on long-term prevention of pests and their damage.
Carlson said the goats would also chew up most of the allergens that come with weeds and overgrown vegetation, reducing symptoms for people with allergies at the hospital.
The pair is currently living in a pen in which they have free roam. When at work, they will be tethered and supervised for their safety. The goats will circulate various areas of the medical center, including the parking lots, the hillside and the redwood grove.
Carlson, who is the primary caretaker of the goats, is seeking volunteers to help care for the goats when they are not roaming the campus. To volunteer, contact Carlson at 925-370-5141.
For more information, visit the CCHS website at www.cchealth.org
# # #