Caltrans using goats to control non-native plants on Highway 1
–In the next few weeks, Caltrans will begin the second year of a three-season effort to use goats to aid in controlling weeds adjacent to Highway 1 just north of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. Instead of relying on herbicides, Caltrans is using a more sustainable approach to revitalizing the native coastal prairie adjacent to the recent highway realignment project in the area where the previous highway was located.
This grazing project began last summer and included 300 goats to help remove invasive non-native weeds such as bur clover, wild radish, mustard, and thistle. The animals were confined to selected grazing areas by temporary electric fencing moved every few days and grazed at a rate of approximately one acre per day over a one-month period.
Caltrans District 5 Landscape Architect, Katherine Brown, led this intensive habitat restoration project over a 20-acre site. The goats are managed by shepherds from Living Systems Land Management a subcontractor hired by the Caltrans prime contractor, Empire Landscaping Inc.
Caltrans is pleased this grazing effort to remove invasive plant material continues to be conducted in a sustainable manner and is helping to reduce the use of herbicides, Caltrans said in a news annoucenment.
This effort is now featured in a Caltrans News Flash #219:
Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway construction zones.
For traffic updates on other state highways on the Central Coast motorists can call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at (805) 549-3318 or visit the
District 5 website at: https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-5