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Grazing goats clear Madison parks of invasive species

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 5:37 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Grazing goats are keeping Madison’s parks free from invasive species, with the hope that they’ll provide a more natural habitat for plants.

Sixty goats are currently working to clear 17 acres at Olin Park, which is the first park stop of the year. They will eventually travel to other area parks to help them get ready for prescribed burns, create a more natural environment and clear invasive species.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway explained in dense environments of some parks, it’s hard for humans to get through. However, it’s not so hard for goats.

“It would be pretty labor intensive for us to go in and cut out all the brush,” the mayor said. “Not to mention we’d then have to take that brush away and do something with it. Whereas the goats, they will eat it for us.”

Madison conservation resource supervisor Paul Quinlan explained the goats also decrease the amount of herbicide needed to treat an area.

“Despite our volunteers who help a lot, it’s just too much ground to cover, so this is a good way to do it,” said Madison conservation resource supervisor Paul Quinlan. “We don’t have to use as much herbicide on this area and reduces the amount of herbicide overall and yeah the goats can go anywhere.”

The goats will be at Olin Park over the four to six weeks and will eventually make their way to other city parks through September. In the winter time, the goats go back to their farms.

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