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Here's how goats help reduce flood risk in Sacramento

Goats play crucial part in reducing Sacramento flood risk
Goats play crucial part in reducing Sacramento flood risk 02:06

SACRAMENTO — Goats and sheep are commonly used to help reduce wildfire threats by clearing away dry brush, but another flock is being deployed to help fight flooding in Sacramento County.

"They come out and eat the grass along the culvert to make sure that we don't have any blockages when the rain falls," said Matt Robinson with Sacramento County Water Resources.

When strong winter storms hit, Sacramento becomes one of the most flood-prone regions in the nation.

Local creeks can rapidly rise and spill over the banks toward homes.

"Last year, it was pretty high and it's just scary because the houses are nearby," said Anna Cardoso, whose parents live near a creek.

Cardoso's parents live right behind Strawberry Creek and took measures last winter to stop the water from getting into their home.

"In January, it went almost up to her backyard and it was trying to come in," she said. "They were able to put bags of rice to keep it from going inside."

About 300 animals are currently clearing brush along Strawberry Creek near Calvine Road, and once they've finished there, they'll move up north to Arcade Creek.

"It takes about seven days," Robinson said. "These goats are very professional to get the job done quickly and make sure that they don't leave anything behind."

Many people who live near the creek support this environmentally friendly way to clear the overgrown brush.

"It's really smart to have goats instead of using chemicals because it'll go into the ground and maybe mess with plants and whatnot," said Eril Limansky, who lives in the area.

Even though it may be an unusual site to see out your backyard fence, the goats and sheep are growing on these homeowners.

"I think it's a great idea," Cardoso said. "I mean, they're enjoying themselves. They're just kind of roaming around."

There is a team of goat herders that stay with the animals 24 hours a day to make sure they don't escape the temporary fences that have been installed.

The animals are scheduled to be used along the creeks for the next five weeks.

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