AUGUSTA — It’s been one year since the city of Augusta started using goats to maintain overgrowth in detention ponds.
“They just do well. They don’t ever get sick to come into work. They are just here all the time,” Environmental Health Manager Randy Wishard said.
Right now, there are 20 goats being used at two different retention ponds.
The goats help with weedy and brushy areas on county property.
“This started with Commissioner Williams asking about it. It really helps mosquito control as far as keeping the vegetation down and being able to treat the ponds. It just helps the neighborhood,” Wishard said.
It’s a job that inmates use to do, but with more than 700 retention ponds in the county, officials wanted to try something different.
“The goats just eat and eat and eat, and you provide them with water and shelter. They tend to just do their job,” Wishard said.
He says the good thing is that other than the initial purchase of the animals, the program doesn’t cost any money.
“We’re just so thankful for Augusta Engineering because they provide the maintenance through the maintenance department. And the Lord for our Animal Services because they spend hours when we have to move them and stuff. And then mosquito control checks on them during the week,” Wishard said.
But the program has had its setbacks.
Back in March, 3 dogs got into a retention pond by getting underneath the fence.
5 goats were killed and 3 had to be put to sleep.
Despite the loss of 8 goats, the county says the program is a success.
14 new goats were recently purchased and Wishard says he expects the program to grow.
“Their ability to eat and maintain just 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without much supervision, it’s just the best way to go,” Wishard said.
The county currently has one male goat at Augusta Animal Services.
Wishard says they will eventually use him to slowly breed more goats and expand the program.