Goats may be the answer for clearing park overgrowth - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Goats may be the answer for clearing park overgrowth


The Dubuque County Conservation Board may not be using herbicides to get rid of those harmful, invasive plant species in Dubuque County's recreational areas -- they may, instead, be using goats.

Brian Preston, Executive Director of the Dubuque Conservation Board, believes goats could be the answer in getting rid of harmful plant species in Dubuque County.

For years, the conservation board and volunteers have been clearing honeysuckle and buckthorn by hand or with herbicides in order to keep the plants in check.

"We have been working hard to try to control honeysuckle, buckthorn, some of those invasive non-native species in our wildlife areas," Preston said. "What the goats will help us do is eat some of those, graze on some of those and help kill them and keep them under control."

Preston learned some counties in Iowa were using a method including goats, allowing the goats to browse different areas of land to help control invasive plants.

"It's not an idea that we came up with -- (the) Story County Conservation Board and the Polk County Conservation Board in Central Iowa have been working with goats on restoring some of their native habitats over the last couple of years," Preston said.

Soon after, Preston presented the idea to the Friends of the Dubuque County Conservation Board. The group was thrilled with the idea and pledged money toward the purchase.

"One of our friend's members donated $100 to challenge others to help us go green for goats," Preston said.

Preston would like to purchase 10 to 12 goats by early June. The Conservation Board would place the goats in certain recreational areas to browse for two to three weeks in hopes of getting rid of those invasive plants.

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