Erie County is trying out a new way to fight invasive species – by using goats.
The county is partnering with Let’s Goat Buffalo, for a pilot program taking place inside Como Lake Park in Lancaster. Six goats have been placed in the park, and over the course of a few weeks, organizers hope that they will eat acre of Japanese Knotweed.
Japanese Knotweed is a bamboo-like invasive plant. It lies along many highways and in some of the county’s parks.
“It’s very, very hard to get rid of,” said Jennifer Zeitler owner of Let’s Goat Buffalo. “Goats love to eat it. It’s like dessert to them.
The idea is that goats can reach places humans can’t. It also eliminates the need for chemicals and other methods used to clear invasive plants.
“And, the nice thing is, this would be very expensive to do, if we had to treat it with staff and or treat it with herbicide, which we really don’t want to do because they kill everything,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
If successful, the program could be used elsewhere in the county.
Officials say, park visitors should not pet or touch the goats. There is a fence around the area where the goats are eating. A portion of the fence is also electric.