Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Weed Busters

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Weed Busters

Article excerpt

Because they do best eating weeds rather than grasses and are agile climbers, allowing them to reach vines and stems in otherwise hard-to-reach places, goats are an environmentally friendly and extremely effective tool for controlling the spread of noxious weeds. So, when Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve--a pesticide-free, 700-acre preserve in Leesburg, Virginia, that's owned by Loudoun County and managed through the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services--needed to control the spread of invasive plants, it turned to goats, which fit in perfectly with its land management practices.

"We here at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve have partnered with Willowsford Farm in 'Project: Springhouse Restoration!' The herd of LaMancha, Oberhasli and Nubian goats, located in a fenced-off area, is managing unwanted vegetation naturally--by eating it! This restoration is vitally important because unless invasive plants are managed accordingly, they can take over the landscape, overrun the native plants, threaten important biodiversity and ruin habitat for the native wildlife," says Julie Paul, the preserve naturalist.

Ron Circe, the preserve manager, and Paul are monitoring the progress, health and success of the herd. …

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