Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Who Let The Goats Out!

The arrival of brush goats to Pasatiempo is official!
For several months we have been working with a company out of Santa Barbara (Brush Goats 4 Hire) and hoping they would be able to help us in an innovative attempt to restore our canyons and barancas into a more rugged and natural appearance.  

The first trailer of our newest staff members arrived Tuesday morning and most of them sprinted down the canyon eager to begin munching on anything green.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Update on Our Native Grass Program

The native grasses that were seeded in January and February are doing quite well.  The blend of six-grass types were selected because of their drought tolerance along with their shorter growth habit and while they may look like a weed patch right now, they are doing what they are supposed to.  Keep in mind that these grasses have not received any water since the last rain fell in May. The main goal with our conversion to native grasses is to reduce the need for unnecessary inputs throughout the course, thereby contributing to environmental sustainability and conservation of our natural resources.  By eliminating 25-acres, we will save approximately 15,000,000 gallons of water per year, which translates into an economic savings of $110,000.  This figure does not account for the reduction in fertilizer, emissions from mowing equipment, and labor that will accompany the reduction in water.  Currently, these areas may not look appealing and what you may have expected from “native grasses,” however the finished product will look very natural, aesthetically pleasing, and serve as a dramatic complement to the classic Alister MacKenzie design.  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Alternative Brush management

Over the years there have been various approaches to control the weeds and overgrowth in the canyons and barancas. None of the approaches will be as efficient and “green” as the goats that will be brought on to our property later this month. As we look to restore the look more common during the MacKenzie era, one of the features that has been lost is the stunning, rugged definition of the canyons. Throughout the years, the steep, jagged edges have all been covered up by extensive overgrowth. During the week of September 20th, we will introduce goats into the canyons to begin the extensive cleanup. There is a long list of benefits with regard to using goats instead of manual labor. Some of these include:

  • Significantly cheaper than using our manual labor to clear out the barancas 
  • Reduce the need for spraying harmful chemicals 
  • No heavy equipment damage or noise 
  • Goats can easily traverse steep, rocky and difficult terrain
  • It will add an entertainment factor for our members and guests 
  • Goats break down plant material, whereas our crew would still have to drag it out and chip it 
  • They are very quiet cleaners and you will see amazing progress each week

The goats will be enclosed in areas that will be surrounded by solar powered electric fences. Great Pyrenees dogs will be with the goats to protect them and will only bark if they feel the goats are threatened. A herdsman will be within contact or onsite 24/7 and the goats are expected to be here for about 7-weeks. This is a tremendous undertaking, but the restoration to the canyons along with the elimination of unnecessary overgrowth, will ensure that this club project will be talked about for many years to come.

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