Goats clearing ragweed, poison ivy in Clayton County - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Goats clearing ragweed, poison ivy in Clayton County

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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has a unique solution for getting rid of unwanted plants. Iowa Department of Natural Resources district wildlife supervisor Jim Jensen said 63 goats have been munching away at Ensign Hollow state wildlife area in Clayton County for nearly a month. The goats are getting rid of vegetation such as giant ragweed, stinging nettles, wild parsnip, poison ivy and other unwanted plants.

The goats have already cleared more than three acres.

"The vegetation is just too thick to come up through and to fish, walk around. So we're just using grazing as a tool," Jensen said.

In the past, the DNR used different machines to get rid of unwanted vegetation, but Jensen said it was difficult to get the machines to certain areas.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources supervisor Mike Steuck said the work was also very time and labor intensive on the employees. The DNR is paying a nearby goat producer $2,100 to let the 63 goats and two guard donkeys graze the land. Steuck said the grazing is just an experiment as of right now. He said the real test will be next year to see if the unwanted plants come back.

Steuck said if the goats prove to be successful the DNR may consider goats as a way to help get rid of unwanted plants in other areas of Iowa.

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