An environmentally friendly alternative

Homeowners association rents goats to provide greenway maintenance

A goat grazes within a storm water retention area in Washougal. Sixteen goats were rented by the Krause Meadows Homeowners Association, to eat a variety of plant life. “This is not something anyone in the subdivision had seen done before,” said Association President Holly Ruth. Buy this photo

A homeowners association in Washougal implemented a unique method to clear an overgrown storm water retention area.

Sixteen goats were rented July 1-3, for a flat rate of $600, to eat greenery near 39th and “P” streets, in the Krause Meadows neighborhood.

“It is the homeowners’ responsibility to keep invasive plants like blackberry bushes from over taking the area and eventually leading to clogging up the pipelines and filtration with vines and other plants,” said Holly Ruth, president of the homeowners association. “We hired gardeners to maintain it once a month. Due to the rocks and inclines, the gardeners were not able to really complete the work.”

Kimberly Drew, treasurer of the homeowners association, saw a commercial for PEMCO Insurance that had a “goat renter guy” in it. She had the idea to rent goats to clear the area, because they would be able to eat the blackberries and climb over the rocks.

Drew presented the idea to Ruth and three board members.

“We decided it was worth a try because not only did it solve the vine problem, but it was eco-friendly as well,” Ruth said.

Drew did the research about renting goats, and she received approval from the City of Washougal.

The goats were provided by Casey Brewer, owner of West Side Goat Girl.

The homeowners association, which paid the goat fee, received a discount because fencing already existed to contain the goats.

“I spoke with Casey about a maintenance plan for the retention area, and she felt it would only need to be done once a year or at most twice in a year,” Ruth said. “This is definitely something we would like to continue in the future.”

Donna Kelly, a resident of the Krause Meadows neighborhood, appreciated the crew of goats.

“It is environmentally friendly, and the goats are cute,” Kelly said. “It’s really fun to watch.”

Brewer said her goats are interested in a variety of vegetation, including blackberry, salmon berry, dandelion, maple leaves, cottonwood leaves, bamboo and knot weed.

Her four-year-old company is based in Woodland.

“This business was especially interesting for me as I was looking to become self employed, yet do something that not only made a difference in our communities but also put me in a situation where I was working with animals,” Brewer said Monday.

She started her company outside Seattle after receiving some instruction about the goat business from a farmer.

Brewer moved West Side Goat Girl and the herd to Woodland two years ago.

For more information, contact Brewer at 798-5878 or casey@wsgoatgirl.com or visit www.wsgoatgirl.com.