Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 4:11 pm | A Few Clouds 66º


Cate School Deploys Goats for Vegetation Management

The herd will consume invasive weeds and plants on the 150-acre Carpinteria foothills campus

A herd of 150 to 200 brush goats will be utilized to clear invasive vegetation from a 30-acre portion of the Cate School‘s 150-acre campus in the Carpinteria foothills.

The goats, delivered to a fenced-in hillside area on the northwestern slope of the school’s property, are expected to consume the plants over the next several months at a rate of two to four acres per day.

In addition, the unique vegetation management approach will provide a learning experience for students, who will help monitor progress of the herd.


“Vegetation management is not new to Cate,” said Sandi Pierce, co-acting head of school. “In the past we’ve had to hire a crew of workers to clear growth so we could mitigate the risk of fire. What’s appealing about this method is that it’s efficient, sustainable, and that we can get interested students involved in solving a problem.”

The goats will be released on two separate days in herds of about 100 to an area that has been contained by an electrified fence. A pair of Anatolian shepherd dogs specifically trained to protect the weed-eating herd will further control the animals. The herd will consume a mixture of cape ivy, berry vines, rye grass, poison oak and chaparral.

Cate has contracted with Brush Goats 4 Hire, based in Buellton, for the project. The company provides the service to individuals, businesses and government agencies looking for an environmentally friendly solution to vegetation management.

“We have no doubt that this is a great solution for Cate,” said Lorraine Argo, who co-owns Brush Goats 4 Hire with her husband, Ian Newsam. “The results can be quite dramatic, since the goats literally eat their way up the hillside. They cover ground quite fast.”

Members of Cate’s Environmental Club will be trained to help with the project. Students will assist in tracking groups of goats using a GPS device, help with daily livestock monitoring and maintenance, and record herd consumption levels.

“We’re pleased that students will become an important part of the project,” Argo said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to learn about an innovative approach for vegetation management and invasive species removal for Southern California.”

“The goats will be a fixture in our community for a few months,” Pierce added. “We’re confident that they will be effective, and that our students will have a novel educational experience. We’re all really quite excited about it.”

— Don Orth is the director of communications for Cate School.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >