Minneapolis parks turning to goats to fight invasive species

- Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board commissioners are hoping goats can provide part of the answer to beating buckthorn and other invasive species in areas otherwise tough to access.

It's a shrub as common as it is prickly, buckthorn is one of many invasive species you can find in Minneapolis parks. It's rapid growth and expansive leaves choke out other plants. And up to this point, natural non-chemical solutions have been tough to find.

But goats, at last check, are not a chemical, and also love buckthorn.

"They [goats] are not real picky one thing to the next, they have a very wide pallet and they can digest poisonous things,” John Erwin, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, said.

In the past, goats were simply too expensive. But in recent years, the price of four-legged help has fallen, opening the door to an effective and fun way to beat the weeds.

"People laughed because you know, it sounds like a crazy idea until you think about it," Scott Vreeland, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, said.

If all goes according to plans, the goats will be deployed in Minneapolis parks as part of a trial later this year.

"I think people would love to see goats in the park system," Vreeland said.

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