Monday, 2 July 2012

Goats on Statten Island?

An illustration of the future Fresh Kills Park.
An illustration of the future Fresh Kills Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yes indeed, there are goats on Statten Island.  In Freshkills park to be precise.   This park used to be the largest land fill in the world.  It was closed in 2001 and is now being developed into a 2,200 acre park.  The development will be on going for the next 30 years, but it's getting started now.

A large portion of the park is being developed into a  wetlands area.  The only problem?  That area is currently overrun by the invasive plant phragmites.

Phragmites. (Photo credit: Maryland Dept. of the Environment)
Pharagmites is an extremely long lived plant that grows up to 18 feet tall.  Unfortunately, it's also not easy to get rid of.  Freshkills park is trying to avoid using herbicides to kill these plants, so they are trying something a bit different.

Enter the goats.  Twenty Anglo-Nubians.  They will be at the park for 6 weeks this summer, munching as much phragmites (and anything else they find) as they can. 

 Using goats to tackle difficult plants isn't anything new.  This technique is call targeted or prescribed grazing.  Many animals have been used to deal with excessive, unwanted vegetation; from Asian carp in overgrown streams, to cattle grazing kudzu.  Growing up in Georgia, we had kudzu all over the farm.  It always amazed me to see how the cattle would choose to eat it over the grass at times.  Horses didn't seem to like it though.  But, kudzu is a story for another day.

For now, if you are in the area, go see the goats at Freshkills park and admire some truly natural weed control at work.
A Nubian (aka Anglo-Nubian) goat attempts to e...
An Anglo-Nubian goat attempts to eat their prize ribbon at a Scottish fair. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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