Three of a herd of 70 goats demonstrate why they are good at vegetation control as they munch down plants growing on a levee along the south side of Mill Creek across from Rooks Park. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is trying out the ecologically-friendly method to remove plant cover so the levee can be inspected.
Photo by Andy Porter.
WALLA WALLA — When it comes to goats versus vegetation, bet on the goats.
A herd of some 70 goats got to work this weekend on the south shore the Mill Creek channel across from Rooks Park.
Their job? Munch their way from the diversion dam downstream to the Mill Creek Office, cleaning off the levee as they go.
If all goes as planned, the hircine herb control will leave the levee ready for inspection by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers workers looking for problems before high-water events.
The pilot project has gone well so far, said Chris Alford, a park ranger with the Mill Creek Office.
“We’re pretty happy with this and it’s a different way to tackle removing the vegetation,” he said Monday during a visit to the site.
The goats are owned by Goat Pros Organic Weed Control from Spokane County, said Reece Dobson, the herd’s handler. The company is working as a subcontractor for Healing Hoofs of Edwall, Wash.
Although the gravel trail on the south side of the creek will be closed through July 29, Alford said park officials hope to be able to reopen the wood footbridge spanning the creek at Rooks Park in a few days as the herd works its way downstream.
Visitors are being asked to stay away from the goats, which are kept corralled by electric fencing and professional working dogs. People walking on the north side of the creek and in Rooks Park must keep their pets leashed.
Water activities in the channel along the zone are also suspended because the herding dogs may perceive other dogs as a threat to the goats.
Information on the project and updates on the project are available at 527-7160 or at facebook.com/millcreekdam.
Andy Porter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8318.