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19 acres by water quality plant, cleared by goats

Original post made by Natalie Fisher, Midtown, on Jun 1, 2006

If nothing is here but weeds and grass, why couldn't this 19 acres be used for either the new public safety building or the auto row or a hotel?

Anyone have any idea why this land is lying fallow while we're told there is no land available for development? Who owns the land, the City of Palo Alto or the county or ?

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Posted by Tyler Hanley
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Jun 1, 2006 at 2:24 pm

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

Here is an excerpt from the story (published in the May 24th Palo Alto Weekly)that explains the background on this posting. The land is owned by the city and is adjacent to the sewage treatment plant (at the end of Embarcadero Rd) in the baylands.

Text of story:

Five-hundred goats and 160 sheep were trucked in from Santa Cruz and unloaded into a paddock at the city's Regional Water Quality Control Plant, where the livestock will munch on vegetation for about a month.

The animals were brought to eradicate weeds on the city's 19-acre property near the Baylands. They will graze in areas that are difficult to clear with human labor.

The animals also enable the city to avoid using toxic pesticides, which are carried into the Bay by runoff.

"We're down on chemicals these days," Phil Bobel, Palo Alto's environmental-compliance manager said. "With goats, the weeds aren't just killed; they're removed."

Living Systems Land Management, the family-owned company providing the goats and sheep, cares for the animals 24 hours a day. The animals are penned in by a moveable electric fence, which allows them to be herded to new areas.

In Palo Alto's case, the goats and sheep are used to manage invasive and non-native plants such as Italian thistle, wild oats and cheese weed — also called malvia. The cost to the city to lease the animals is approximately $740 an acre, or about $14,000, according to the city staff.

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Posted by Natalie Fisher
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 3, 2006 at 2:38 pm

Sorry for my premature post on the 19 acres of the water quality control plant. I heard from the city that that land is used by the plant and is not just weeds. It isn't available for other uses.

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