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John Bluck                                                                                          July 8, 2002

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone:  650/604-5026 or 604-9000



Goats munching 'stubborn' vegetation and workers composting landscaping debris and reducing pesticide and herbicide use have resulted in an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) award for NASA Ames Research Center in the heart of California's Silicon Valley.

In 2001, NASA Ames cut pesticide and fertilizer use by 98 percent compared with previous years. The center also recycled all of its landscaping debris by composting, saving an estimated $60,000 in disposal costs. As a result of this demonstrated commitment to the environment, Ames recently received the EPA's 2002 Environmental Achievement award.

"I am pleased that the EPA has recognized our team's outstanding work," said Steve Frankel, Ames' manager responsible for facilities maintenance, including landscaping. "We worked cooperatively with Ames' environmental division, contractors and subcontractors alike to ensure the success of the program. It's been a true team success story."

"Minimal use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers has resulted in dramatically reduced exposures to workers applying these products, as well as likely reductions in exposures to other employees who might have come into contact with such materials," said Diane Shelander of the Environmental Services Division at NASA Ames. "We are proud of what we have achieved in fully meeting center needs while protecting our entire workforce."

To minimize its solid waste disposal, NASA Ames began making its own compost. The center produced about 2,200 cubic yards of compost in 2001. More than one-third of Ames' solid waste -- landscaping debris that would have gone into land disposal -- was instead re-used.

In 1997 the center applied 4,000 gallons of pesticides and herbicides, but in 2001 it used less than 50 gallons. To achieve this reduction, workers utilized traps to catch pests and eliminated large-scale pesticide applications.

NASA Ames now has reduced the overall volume of herbicide use, applies herbicides that are less toxic, and maintains drought-resistant, native vegetation. A group of 13 goats patrols certain areas to control 'hard-to-deal-with' vegetation.

"Goats are goats --they eat just about anything," said Jon Talbot, project manager for South Bay Maintenance, a contractor for the NASA Ames Plant Engineering Branch. "They eat thistles, cattails and all kinds of grass." An adult goat eats about two to three pounds of vegetation per day, according to Talbot.

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