SFO puts goat herd to work

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Ramin Rahimian for The Bay Citizen 60 City Grazing goats graze the rail yard of the Port of San Francisco in the Bayview Hunter’s Point neighborhood of San Francisco on Thursday, January 5, 2012 Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/1glSb)

By Andy Wright, Bay Citizen

At San Francisco International Airport you’ll see the usual airport bars and fast-food outposts, but you’ll also see a yoga room – and maybe goats. Or, as SFO terms it, an “organic weed abatement program.”

In an announcement this morning, airport officials said that they would be using goats to create a firebreak on a stretch of an “environmentally sensitive area” on its West of Bayshore property. The land is home to two endangered species – the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog. Lately, goats have become a popular alternative to more invasive methods of keeping vegetation in check.The goats are veterans of the SFO gig – they trim the grass annually.

The goats will work north to south, and they’ll be tended by a goat herder and monitored by an environmental biologist to make sure they don’t disturb the endangered species.

SFO isn’t the only place in the Bay to employ goats: Google has done it, and local business City Grazing has dispatched its goats across the city, from the Exploratorium and San Francisco railroad tracks.

Goats and yoga rooms aren’t the only thing that might tip travelers off to the city’s distinct character. SFO is a travel hub, but in recent years has made moves to become a cultural hub – it has an accredited museum, hosts book readings and concerts, and its renovated Terminal 2 offers Acme baguettes and Cowgirl Creamery cheese.

Andy Wright runs The Bay Citizen’s Pulse of the Bay blog. Previously, Andy worked as the web editor at the SF Weekly and as the assistant culture and community editor for The Bay Citizen. A California native, she graduated from Antioch College in Ohio.