250 goats (aka nature's lawnmowers) wolf down weeds and help prevent wildfires in Jefferson County.
If you know goats, you know that they will eat anything, literally. They've got their mind on the munchies and the munchies on their mind, which makes them perfect to care for Colorado's landscapes.
The City of Lakewood has called these eating machines into action on Green Mountain, near the C-470/I-70 intersection, to help it control invasive weed species. Natural grazing company, Goat Green, has brought in 250 head to the area, so they can do what they do best: eat. The goats will eat invasive, non-native weed species that can quickly choke out native flora, as well as turn that fodder into fertilizer. They even help spread native plant species, as they knock seeds from plants while grazing, as well as pick seeds up in their coats, shedding them in different places as they graze. These goats also act as nature's firefighters because they eat down dead or dying plant life that could potentially feed a wildfire (fingers crossed that's not an issue this year).
This goat approach also helps land managers avoid the use of heavy equipment or chemicals to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
Go(a)t nature? This herd does! These adorable animals are helping with control of invasive weeds while also helping with soil aeration and mineral content on @HaydenGreenMtn. #LakewoodCO #Wildlife pic.twitter.com/wHt87IJe2R— City of Lakewood, CO (@LakewoodColo) June 18, 2019
The goats will be on Green Mountain for about a week, chewing their way through all the weeds they could want. A herder is on hand 24-7 to make sure they are protected from predators and to ensure they don't make a bolt for greener pastures (goats are serious escape artists). They graze fenced-in sections that are moved occasionally to maximize weed control. These goats on-the-go also travel from place to place performing their munching magic all over the region.
In addition to goats, communities and state and federal agencies across the United States have used cattle, sheep, and a variety of other livestock for similar projects. Letting nature take care of nature is a wonderful thing.
Did you see the goats on Green Mountain? Have you seen goats used for prescribed grazing in other parts of the state?