A herd of hired goats won’t be working for Reston Association any time soon.
The RA Board voted at its planning meeting on Monday not to explore the option of using goats for invasive plant removal.
Hunters Woods/Dogwood Director Lucinda Shannon approached RA CEO Cate Fulkerson and RA Environmental Resources Manager Claudia Thompson-Deahl earlier this summer, pointing out that Tree Pittsburgh, an environmental nonprofit, recently used goats from Eco-Goats, a company in Maryland, to restore vegetation on a hill in the city.
Goats were also used last year to manage invasive plants at Congressional Cemetery in D.C.
For other projects, Eco-Goats trucked in several dozen goats to the site. A temporary fence was installed, and goats grazed for a few days on the offending plants. Meanwhile, goat droppings make great fertilizer for the return of the native plants, Eco-Goats said. It is not known what the goats would have cost RA, as the board did not get that far in exploring the idea.
Goats are able to eat plants that are poisonous to other animals and their mouth structure destroys the seeds of the invasives.
Invasive plants such as Purple Loosestrife, Winged Burning Bush and English Ivy, among others — are an issue on both Reston Association and privately owned land in Reston. They damage the native plants and affect wildlife.
Meanwhile, the Reston deed prohibits livestock so that would have been an obstacle for the RA board.
Photo: Eco-Goats goats get to work/Credit: Eco-Goats