Goats Are Not the Answer to Invasives

SVT moderated the Annual Fall Meeting of the SuAsCo CISMA on November 12 at the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge headquarters in Lincoln. One highlight was a discussion about whether to goats to control invasive plant species. Goats are voracious eaters, and they can clear a patch of invasive plants very quickly, which makes them ideal for maintaining fields and field edges. They also are useful for doing quick cut back of vegetation so a land manager can follow up with other treatment methods.

But on the negative side, goats need to be fenced and require daily monitoring to fix fences or shelters, replenish water, and catch any goat that attempts to escape. Plus, they will eat any plant in the fenced area, including the desired native species.

As a group, the SuAsCo CISMA did not make any decisions about whether to use goats. SVT is not using goats at this time, because we have yet to find a cost-effective, feasible location where it makes sense to use them.

SuAsCo CISMA (Cooperative Invasives Species Management Area) is a partnership of organizations that seek to control invasive species in the 36 communities around the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers. SuAsCo CISMA programs are supported by SVT.