Goats hired for landscaping in Webster Groves

WEBSTER GROVES, Mon.-
I’m a big fan of the new hires, ”laughs Kathleen Dwyer. “You’re doing a bang-up job, a chewing job.”

She yells over a series of security tapes and an electric fence at a herd of 39 goats huddled between the trees along a hill on the side of the road in Webster Groves.

The goats have been in the city for “targeted grazing” in recent weeks to remove overgrowth and invasive species such as honeysuckle from wooded parks and public areas.

“It’s very labor-intensive. So if we can use the goats or something like that to give us the first cut and then people can come in after that and really clean it up, that’s what we’re looking for, ”said Scott Davis, Webster Groves Parks and Recreation. He says he wasn’t entirely sure what to think of the idea when it was first introduced to him, but after doing some research to see that it was a fairly popular method in other parts of the country for ground control, it was sold.

He says the pilot – testing whether it would make sense to move goats to other locations around Webster Groves – is paying off.

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“You couldn’t even see the goats when we got them out of the enclosure. And the next day they ate up the first fenced area until it was pretty well taken care of, ”he said. “We have other park areas along the banks of the streams and very steep hills that volunteers are almost impossible to go into and remove the honeysuckle there. That’s why we really want to use these goats in the future. “

Dwyer, who lives nearby and has hiked up a short hill to get a look at the goats at work, hopes to see crews like this more often.

I know a lot of devices that people use between lawn mowers and air blowers, these are not environmentally friendly things. They give off a lot of CO2 and other substances into the air. This is a much more natural solution, ”she said. “And you have to admit, they’re damn cuter than a lawnmower.”

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