More than 100 goats will chomp vegetation near Alderwood mall

LYNNWOOD — They came. They saw. They ate.

An army of 110 goats is chomping through tangled vegetation that was overtaking the Alderwood mall detention pond. The goats will be on the job through July 2 or 3.

The Lynnwood Public Works Department deployed them behind the AMC Loews Alderwood Mall 16 theaters to clear blackberry bushes and other overgrown greenery populating the steep slope around the pond.

The goats are grazing under contract with Rent-A-Ruminant of Vashon Island. Tammy Dunakin, the head wrangler and owner, began the business 10 years ago with two goats.

Dunakin owns 135 now and names them all. They include Dewey, Guinness and Ringo. During a visit to their job site, it was clear each goat has a unique personality, moxie and spunk. Ernie has starred in a Taco Time commercial.

“They love what they do,” Dunakin said.

A majority of the goats are rescued or obtained from previous owners who could not take care of the animals. In Dunakin’s herd, there are nine breeds.

When a goat retires, usually around the age of 10 to 12, it is not slaughtered. It retires to a loving home.

For the city of Lynnwood, the goats are a perfect solution to overgrown areas. The animals curb unwanted vegetation without herbicides.

“The city has been very sustainability-minded,” City Councilman Ian Cotton said.

And with goats, there is no debris left behind or even seeds. Their digestive system sterilizes seeds, so when the goats relieve themselves, the prospect of vegetation returning is slim.

Goats will eat most plants including blackberries, ivy, Scotch broom, nettle, thistle, tree saplings and many others.

Without machinery, the work is done quietly, although one can hear an occasional bleat or baa.

And goats can clear areas inaccessible to machines and humans.

“The pond slopes are really steep, and our guys can only go so far,” said Lynnwood Environmental and Surface Water Manager Jared Bond. “One of our guys actually fell in the pond.”

The city estimates it would cost 27 cents per square foot if the work was done by humans. The goats do the same work for a mere 13 cents per square foot.

After about 10 days, the goats have cleared 58,000 square feet.

After the shrubbery is cleared from the Alderwood mall detention pond, the city is considering using goats for other projects.

Brenna Holland: bholland@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

Case unresolved: The noose at an Edmonds construction site

Though two were fired over comments about it, police were unable to determine who put it there.

To get drug money, Lynnwood man says he cut 911 wires

Those wires happened to be the ones used by 911 dispatchers, but emergency services weren’t affected.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Motorcyclist killed in crash had high level of THC

A motorcyclist had more than eight times the legal limit… Continue reading

Front Porch

EVENTS Teen Night at the Schack The next free Teen Night is… Continue reading

Police: Driver threatens pedestrian, ends up in drug bust

Meth, cocaine and heroin were found in his car, along with a loaded pistol and cash, police say.

Most Read