October 18 2009

Eco-Goats and the Clearing of Invasives

(Eco-Goats and the Clearing of Invasives is part of an ongoing series of posts about a planned LEED-NC 2.2 Platinum project in Baltimore Maryland called  The Center for Parks&People at Auchentoroly Terrace)

The Parks&People Foundation had a big problem. The site for their planned LEED-NC 2.2 Platinum project, after many years of being unused, was overgrown by vegetation and largely taken over by invasive species such as poison ivy. The two existing structures, a historic 'superintendents' house and associated carriage building, have degraded over time and were overrun by ivy, vines, trees, and all sorts of other vegetation. Moreover, the vegetation meant that architectural, structural, mechanical and preservationist field verification of the structures could not be done satisfactorily. With several important project deadlines approaching, Parks&People needed to find an effective way of clearing the area around the structures that was in keeping with their environmental mission and the LEED goals of the project.

Enter the Eco-Goats! At the suggestion of Bob Hedden, owner's representative from Synthesis, Parks&People contracted to have Eco-Goats bring 3o goats to spend 48 consecutive hours eating their way through the vegetation surrounding the historic structures. Instead of having noisy, polluting landscaping equipment chopping down all the vegetation, or worse yet using, herbicides to kill the plants, Parks&People opted to accomplish the clearing the natural way.

You see the goats can't get enough of the poison ivy and other invasives. Far from being sickened or allergic to the plants, the goats fancy the ivy and go so far as to digest the seeds so the invasives don't spread any further! The pictures simply do not do justice to the effectiveness of the goats at clearing the vegetation. A horizontal line appears throughout the area where the goats fed roughly equivalent to the height of a goats mouth while it stands on it's hind legs. Goat power.

Brian Knox, President of Sustainable Resource Management and operator of Eco-Goats, suggested that this might be the first real urban use of goats to clear invasive species, and if not a first for an urban application, certainly a first for Baltimore City. He appeared optimistic that, barring any city ordinance obstacles,  goats might have a big role to play in the future maintenance of urban landscaping.

Interest in the goats spread quickly amongst the Parks&People community and the drew media attention from the local newspaper and television stations. For more information please visit the Parks&People Foundation and Eco-Goats websites. You may also want to read about the event in the Baltimore Sun or at Baltimore?s WJZ.

Contact Brian Knox at Eco-Goats if you are interested in clearing your land sustainably.

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October 26th, 2009 at 7:08 AM

uberVU - social comments

Social comments and analytics for this post... This post was mentioned on Twitter by usgbcmd: Can't miss this one....Eco-Goats help a LEED Platinum project in Baltimore http://bit.ly/PlDlc...