Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Send In The Goats?

Sup. Haas wants goats to clear overgrown foliage, invasive species in parks. 'The goats would go home at night.'

By - Oct 26th, 2021 02:19 pm
Goat. Pixabay License Free for commercial use No attribution required

Goat. (Pixabay license).

Should Milwaukee County use a herd of goats to nibble away at invasive species in the parks system?

At least one county supervisor thinks so. Sup. Jason Haas introduced a resolution Tuesday before the county board’s Parks, Energy and Environment Committee seeking to employ goats for landscaping purposes around the county.

I have long ruminated over how to deal with the issue of overgrown vegetation in our county parks and on the bluffs on Lake Michigan,” Haas said, adding that the “sheer cost of people and equipment” makes it an expensive problem to manage. “The solution to this thorny problem, I offer, is goats.”

Haas said goats can be “deployed” in herds to eat up overgrown vegetation and invasive species like buckthorn and honeysuckle. The supervisor is proposing that the county contract with a third party — a “goat vendor” — to deploy and manage the goats.

Haas noted that goats have been used by the City of Madison, the City of Mequon and the City of Wausau and O’Hare International Airport for landscaping related services.

Haas’ resolution asks Milwaukee County Parks to review and develop a plan outlining parks and county grounds where goats could be deployed, identifying invasive species in county parks; and the costs, feasibility and timeline for using goats for landscaping in the parks.

Sup. Steven Shea posed the dirty question that was on everyone’s mind. “My only concern here, I’m thinking about the residue of goat droppings. How is that managed in this solution here?”

Sup. Sheldon Wasserman, chair of the parks committee, said, “Please proceed, this is a critical question, people are very concerned about this issue.”

Haas said the “droppings” are “definitely a thing,” adding: “If it’s in a trafficked area, even a slightly trafficked area, that would need to be an item of concern. That would be handled within the… contract discussion.”

Sup. Felesia Martin asked what the cost associated would be. Haas said that is still to be determined, but said the county would not be responsible for the goats.

“The goats would go home at night,” Haas said. “This would not be a new county asset.”

Martin also seconded the concern about goat feces, explaining that she didn’t want this to end up in Milwaukee’s waterways.

The committee laid the item over for a month so the parks department could study the costs and feasibility of using goats for landscaping.

2 thoughts on “MKE County: Send In The Goats?”

  1. frank a schneiger says:

    As a Milwaukeean who now lives in New York City, Upper West Side of Manhattan, near Riverside Park, I can comment on this subject with a great deal of expertise. We have goats for a month every summer in the forest down the hill from Grant’s Tomb. There are no – as in zero – issues. They do their job, and everyone loves the goats, including the tennis players on the adjacent courts who occasionally mistake their “bahs” for criticisms or out calls. There is a period of deep sadness when the goats leave for home at the end of August. And, by all accounts, they have a measurable positive impact in getting rid of invasive species, much better than RoundUp. Ignore the naysayers and the feces-crazed crowd and go with the goats.

  2. Edward Susterich says:

    Goats– great idea. Better than using herbicides which polute the water and have risk of cancer.

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