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Grazing Goats Fight Invasive Species For Ottawa County Parks

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05-29-14 Goats grazing in Ottawa Co parkEASTMANVILLE, Mich. (May 30, 2014) — The Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Department has deployed a secret weapon in the ight against invasive plant species: goats.

The department announced Friday that a herd of goats has been dispatched to Eastmanville Bayou, a park and boat ramp on the Grand River at 68th Avenue.

The cost for the project, about $5,500 at first, had been paid for by gifts, including a donation from the Friends of the Ottawa County Parks. The goats have been donated by Parks and County Commissioner Phillip Kuyers.

The goats are expected to gobble up “woody, shrub-like invasive plants,” said a parks department release. “Repeat application” of the goats eliminates up to 90 percent of invasive plants. The goats can get to places that mower machines can’t get to in addition to the obvious benefit of eliminating the use of herbicides.

Among the invaders are bush honeysuckle, autumn olive, Oriental bittersweet, poison ivy, and buckthorn.

Two other parks are scheduled for goat treatment: Bur Oak and Riverside Park.

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