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The original item was published from 9/28/2023 5:02:52 PM to 10/8/2023 12:00:00 AM.

News Flash

General News

Posted on: September 28, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Sheep baaattling stormwater pond maintenance in the city

Flock of sheep grazing in a green, grassy field.

Ewe heard it here first: There are flocks of sheep around the city this week baaattling plant maintenance inside six city stormwater ponds. 

The City Commission on Sept. 5 approved an agreement with Power Grazers LLC to try out the project, at a cost of $2,550 for this one-time grazing session. It currently costs us about $1,800 per month in staff time and equipment to maintain the six stormwater ponds. Along with the cost savings, using the sheep also reduces our use of gas and oil, reduces carbon emissions, and other communities around the state have successfully employed sheep for this type of project. 

The stormwater ponds are owned or managed by the city: 

  • 26 S. 20th Street near Fire Station 4 
  • Between LaVista Boulevard and Arbor Street 
  • Beachfield Drive 
  • Two on East Columbia Avenue behind businesses between Capital and Riverside (one pond is owned by the Blackmore Drain Drainage District) 
  • Mercy Pavilion, owned by Bronson Battle Creek Hospital (20th and Eldred streets) 

Stormwater is the water that runs off paved and other hard surfaces during a storm, and it flows untreated into local rivers, lakes, and wetlands. This stormwater can carry trash, car fluids, pet waste, and other pollutants into our waters. Stormwater ponds provide a temporary place for stormwater (to help prevent flooding) and some water quality treatment. They also allow some of that stormwater to soak back into the ground. 

Farmer Jeff Buckham started bringing loads of his sheep to the ponds on Wednesday. He predicted it would take them about 10 days to graze down the plants in the six pond areas. 

Signs are posted at the ponds with Buckham’s phone number, in case of any issues. They also inform neighbors of the sheep grazing pilot program, and ask neighbors not to feed the sheep.  

We are excited about this new program! Please be respectful of the sheep and allow them to work undisturbed.

Check out a fun video of the sheep at work!
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