Case Study

Goat browsing in county park to contain invasive species

Washington County, Minn.

In the fall of 2016, a pilot goat browsing project was implemented at Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park. The goats were used to help control common buckthorn, an invasive shrub which negatively impacts forests by reducing plant, pollinator and wildlife abundance and diversity. A contractor brought in 19 goats to reduce common buckthorn abundance within a three-acre woodland at a cost of $800 per acre. The program raised awareness about the negative impacts buckthorn, increased park awareness and visitation and will lead to future targeted goat browsing within the park system. Future goat use recommendations are to: 1) Continue to use goats to reduce invasive shrub presence. 2) If a contracting service is used in the future, browse larger units to reduce the cost per acre to $300 to $500 per acre, which is competitive with foliar applications at $440 per acre. 3) If leasing goats is an option, lease six to eight goats for summer-fall using seasonal staff to check on herd each day, check fence and set-up new fencing.

Ms. Yvonne Klinnert 
Public Information Coordinator

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