Jun 13, 2014

Goats Control Long Island Invasive Plants

DEC officials have announced the use of use of goats to control the spread of invasive plant species on New York State Department of Environmental Conservation managed lands. In this pilot project, approximately 10 upstate NY goats have been set loose in a six- acre enclosure on the Edgewood-Oak Brush Plains State Preserve, near Deer Park, Long Island. The goats will stay in the Preserve for nearly four months easting autumn olive and mugwort, two invasive plant species that have taken over portions of the preserve.

"White with Horns" says "baaaa" to invasive plants. Photo: Mansura Khanam for The Wall Street Journal

Goats are experienced invasive plant control specialists, happily chowing down at number of local federal properties: Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, the national park in Sandy Hook, N.J., and the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in Hyde Park, N.Y.

For more on this project, visit The Wall Street Journal goat article.

Click here for DEC's Edgewood-Oak Brush Plains goat project press release

DEC has used conservation grazing for land stewardship projects using goats and sheep in a technique called Intensive Rotational Targeted Grazing. On State lands, the livestock is used to perform specific grazing tasks to meet management objectives, such as:

  • Controlling invasive plants . Almost all of New York's invasive plant species can be eaten by livestock - even giant hogweed.
  • Restoring grassland bird habitat.
  • Reducing fuel load to reduce wild-fire danger.
  • Removing woody vegetation and grazing maintenance at historic sites.
  • Reducing weed competition around riparian buffer plantings.
  • Cleaning up edges and fence lines which are often havens for poison ivy. Sheep and goats love poison ivy!

Click to learn more about DEC's conservation grazing projects