Share this page

GOATS: Grazing Overzealously Addresses Terrain Situations

Escondido 4-H | San Diego County Status: In Progress Categories: Animal Science, Citizenship, Environmental Stewardship, Science Youth Leader: Jillian | Age: 14

The Issue

This project addresses the concern in the community for vegetation management to help prevent devastation caused by wild land fires, and supports the local schools, clubs, and small businesses who struggle to keep their organizations and programs operating. San Diego County is a special place that was significantly impacted by the wildfires in recent years. According to the California Department of Forestry, the Paradise Fire of 2003 burned 56,700 acres, 2 people were killed, 221 residences and 192 outbuildings and 2 commercial properties were destroyed; this firestorm cost $11.3 million to fight and extinguish. The Poomacha Fire of 2007 was also extremely devastating. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reports that 49,410 acres were burned, 138 homes and 78 outbuildings and 1 commercial property were lost; the cost to contain and put out this blaze was $20.6 million. Due to the native terrain within San Diego County and the ongoing drought issues, weed abatement and vegetation management is a continual struggle and need within this region to prevent the destruction caused by wild land fires.

How will 4-H help?

Project: GOATS is seeking to expand its original vision, as great success was achieved when initially implemented in 2012. The original project created a viable and ecologically friendly solution to address the wildfire problems in San Diego County by using Boer goats for weed abatement that wereraised by 4-H and FFA students. The initial goal was to match 2 Boer goats with folks interested in adopting the animals for vegetation management. Project GOATS surpassed its original goal and as a result, eight 4-H or FFA animals are currently working to keep San Diego County and its residents safer. Project partners include San Diego County 4-H, FFA, VCHS science students, fire agencies, and community residents.