Goat Power! A Creative Tool for Managing Difficult Invasive Plants
The Willamette Mainstem Cooperative, coordinated by Benton SWCD’s Crystal Durbecq, has been working with the City of Albany to restore a section of Takena Landing along the banks of the Willamette River using a team of 60 goats as a management tool! Much of the area is infested with English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, and poison oak. Goat Power, a business run by Briana Murphy and Bosko Grujicic, will be busy removing the invasive plants through most of September, 2015.
Goats are a great alternative to chemical or other mechanical methods in certain situations. In areas near the river, using goats is preferable to using herbicides that may leach into waterways. Goats can eat dense thickets of thorny plants as well as plants that are poisonous to humans such as poison oak and ivy. While they mow down the bad plants, the goats avoid many of the plants that we like, such as swordfern and native grasses. They are also able to work on steep slopes and rocky terrain, areas that are difficult for people to reach. Goats digest weed seeds as well, so they reduce the quantity of in the soils seed bank. As a bonus, where they work, the goats leave behind fertilizer!
Come See For Yourself!
Curious visitors are invited to stop by and see the goats at work. Or, work alongside the goats at a volunteer weed pull event this Saturday, September 12!
See article about the goat project written by the Democrat Herald on 9-9-2015.
Briana on OPB’s Oregon Field Guide
About the Author
Jamie has a background in horticulture and soil science. She currently enjoys working on an organic vegetable farm in Corvallis and interns at the Benton Soil and Water Conservation District.