Pilot Project Utilizing Goats for Vegetation Control to Begin on the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is pleased to announce a new pilot project utilizing goats to control vegetation overgrowth on the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line (SCBRL). The month-long project seeks to determine if utilizing goats to control vegetation could be a regular component of the overall maintenance of the SCBRL property.

Goats will be utilized in three pilot locations to control weeds, clear certain drainage ditches to prevent clogging which may damage infrastructure or neighboring properties, reduce the debris degrading the railroad ties, and to clear certain invasive growth areas which impede visibility for safe travel and for police to patrol for illegal activities. Utilizing goats is quieter, more energy efficient, requires less person-power, and could also reduce the overall maintenance cost of the corridor.

Work will take place February 4 through March 1 in these locations, starting in Aptos:

  • Aptos (Doris Avenue to Sandalwood Drive)
  • Capitola (Coronado Street to Wesley Street)
  • Live Oak (38th Avenue to 17th Avenue)

This work will require the use of electric fencing, goat herders, and herding dogs, all of which will also be contained within the SCBRL right-of-way where the work is being done. The public is asked to not disturb the electric fencing, enter the fenced area, or pet/feed the goats or dogs.