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Could Parks Use Goats For Maintenance?

Park Board member floats idea of using the ruminants to attack buckthorn and other invasives.

According to a report in the Star-Tribune, Southwest Minneapolis' representative on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is pitching the notion of an unusual, four-legged method of buckthorn control in the city's parks.

(Brad) Bourn said in an interview that he heard about the idea from a parks staffer, who said it could be used to combat invasive plants like Buckthorn. "It sounded like …an interesting idea to try when they talked about it," Bourn said. "So I just wanted to get some more information on it."

The idea has been a popular in other places like Madison, WI. The university there has used goats to clear buckthorn and other invasive plants from a hillside, leaving visiting children delighted with the free petting zoo and residents of nearby buildings glued to their windows. Its proponents told University of Wisconsin-Madison's news service that the goats also offered a "smaller ecologial 'hoof-print.'"

So could we soon see the cheering fans of summer 5K races around Lake Harriet be accompanied by the bleats of goats roaming Roberts Bird Sanctuary, where buckthorn has been a problem in the past?

Probably not. Other Park Board members seem to be cool to the idea, the Star-Tribune reports.

Jesse Lykken September 21, 2012 at 02:48 PM
They should use a herd of goats out at the County Home School to eat the buckthorn. I used to run a crew of juveniles on probation called the MET program which took care of the buckthorn at CHS, but the program was shut down. Now the buckthorn runs unchecked. The kids at CHS could keep the goats, tend to them and milk them. Win-win all around!
James Sanna September 21, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Sounds like it! The Park Board could even take some underutilized basement and start making chevre. Mmmmm....

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