Goats to clear problem plants in parks

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Goats will soon be seen grazing in some Ottawa County parks.

The animals will be used to take care of woody types of invasive plants, Ottawa County Parks department said in a Friday release, including bush honeysuckle, Oriental bittersweet, poison ivy and buckthorn.

County leaders say the animals are more environmentally friendly and are more effective than other methods.

The county says that the use of grazing goats in other locations has gotten rid of about 90% of invasive plants. Herbicide may be necessary as a followup, but not as much of it would need to be applied.

Between 12 and 15 goats will be used at Eastmanville Bayou, Bur Oak and Riverside Park starting in May.

The county said it paid $3,000 for fencing and is leasing the goats at $2,500 per year. The Friends of the Ottawa County Parks provided a $2,500 donation for the project.

After testing out the use of goats this summer, the county will review the program. If everything goes well, the goats could be grazing in Ottawa County parks for two more summers.

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