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Send in the goats! Annual West Sacramento grazing helps clear weeds, fire risk

Watch hundreds of goats cross Jefferson Boulevard in West Sacramento

A grazing ritual in West Sacramento, California, has made 400 goats an annual fixture in late winter or early spring. The city welcomed them March 14, 2019, to the Clarksburg Branch Line Trail after crossing Jefferson Boulevard.
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A grazing ritual in West Sacramento, California, has made 400 goats an annual fixture in late winter or early spring. The city welcomed them March 14, 2019, to the Clarksburg Branch Line Trail after crossing Jefferson Boulevard.

Why did hundreds of goats cross the road Thursday morning?

A grazing ritual in West Sacramento has turned the 400 goats rented from Red Bluff’s Blue Tent Farms into a twice-yearly fixture — once around spring and again in fall, city spokesman Paul Hosley said.

The city welcomed them Thursday to the Clarksburg Branch Line Trail after they crossed Jefferson Boulevard at Barge Canal around 9 a.m.

They chew their way through weeds and vegetation, which helps manage overgrown brush and mitigating fire hazards.

This year, they’re starting with mastication along the Clarksburg Branch Line Trail. They chewed along the same trail in 2017, as well as the Sacramento River Barge Canal. In 2018, they munched at the Broderick Boat Ramp, the city said on its website.

The goats will stick around through May, hitting all of those locations, Hosley said.

The city has been doing it since 2014.

“The goal is to reduce the risk of fire danger, and they do a great job,” Hosley said. “And heck, our residents think they’re pretty darn cute.”

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