As invasive plant species threaten the ecosystem along the Mississippi River, one town initiates creative problem solving.
City officials in St. Paul, Minnesota announced this week that St. Paul Parks and Recreation plans to unleash a herd of 30 goats into the countryside surrounding the town. The farm animals will graze in fenced-in areas along the bluff edge at Indian Mounds Regional Park. The goal, according to a press release from Minnesota Public Radio, is to reduce unwanted vegetation and help control the spread of invasive plant species.
The plan is the first step in a several-month-long project to clean up the land along the Mississippi River. The 30 goats will come from a goat rental company called Goat Dispatch, and they'll spend several months filling their bellies on the natural landscape.
Goats and sheep have often been used to deal with unwanted plants in nearby parks. Goat Dispatch advertises their services saying,
"Using goats to clear land and woody areas is much more cost effective than many traditional methods. The costs of clearing land by hand, equipment rental, labor, permits, and debris disposal can add up very quickly."
They also say goats prefer broadleaf plants and don't bother with grass. It will take several months for the 30 animals to do their duty, but the city hopes this slightly unorthodox method will help better connect the people of St. Paul with the waterway.
The herd is set to be introduced to their vegetarian buffet this week. Townspeople who encounter the goats are encouraged to leave them to their meals.
What do you think about using goats to eliminate invasive species? Let us know in the comments.
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