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Erie County enlists help of goats to fight invasive plant growth at Como Lake Park

Posted at 2:09 AM, Jun 03, 2019

LANCASTER, N.Y. (WKBW) — Como Lake Park in Lancaster is getting some new four-legged workers this summer: goats.

Erie County has partnered with Let's Goat Buffalo to let six goat feast on Japanese knotweed, a natural nuisance that has taken over Como Lake Park.

Goats will graze there during the day and be lodged inside a trailer at night. Erie county officials hope the goats will be able to clear an acre of land within the next month.

"Goats love to eat," Jennifer Zeitler, owner of Let's Goat Buffalo said. "It's so effective, it's so environmentally friendly and we are learning the negative effects of using herbicides."

Zeitler says goats have four stomachs and love to eat all sorts of plants. The goats arrived in the park on Saturday and have already cleared a large section of the area next to the creek.

If this pilot program works works well, Zeitler hopes to bring the goats to other parks and even your backyard.

"When you cut something down-- poison ivy, or something like that you are actually helping it propagate because you are spreading the seeds," Zeitler said. "When goats eat they sterilize that, nothing gets out alive."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the use of goats serves multiple purposes:

  • reaches areas that are difficult for county employees to get to
  • doesn't use chemicals or pollutants
  • adds fertilizer to the areas being treated

The company that put up the fences and brought the goats doesn't want you going near them though. It's also asked that you keep your dogs leashed while in the park, so they don't get near the goats either.