While it isn’t a happy occurrence when someone ‘gets your goat,’ there are a lot of municipalities quite pleased with the goats that are manicuring portions of their property that would otherwise take a lot of man hours.
For six years now, Upper Dublin has been employing a few dozen Katahdin sheep to help maintain rocky storm water basins on municipal property. As a lawn care strategy, it’s a decision rooted in concerns about saving both manpower and the Earth, writes Vinny Vella for philly.com.
And it’s one that in the last few years has become increasingly popular in suburban municipalities — putting sheep, goats and other grazing livestock to work eliminating invasive plants and other vegetation from properties that are difficult, sometimes impractical, for two-legged workers to access.
Dan Russell, the director of parks and recreation in Upper Merion Township, knows well how useful livestock can be.
In 2014, Russell and his colleagues struggled with how to clear fallen trees from an area of Bob White Park overgrown with vines, poison ivy and similar plants.
Two years later, the area was clear, at a cost about $100,000 less than the most generous landscaper estimate, according to Russell.
The answer? Goats, about 20 of them that tore through the plants that most humans would balk at, in an area rendered impassible to heavy equipment.
At the time, the township turned to an outfit out of upstate New York to obtain its goats. But if the same project was commissioned today, Russell wouldn’t have to cast his bid that far afield.
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