Midtown Raleigh News

Some say goats could rid Raleigh’s parks of invasive species

A group of citizens has proposed an idea to rid Raleigh’s parks of invasive species: Bring in goats.

With approximately 140 parks in Raleigh that rely on district staff members for upkeep, taking care of the city’s green spaces can be a challenge.

Earlier this month, a group of citizens asked the city council for more funding to maintain neighborhood and pocket parks. In addition to requesting resources, the group also suggested using goats as a landscaping tool.

“We have information on a growing practice by which cities use small goat herds to maintain parks,” said Neill McLeod, a representative of the Five Points Citizens Advisory Council leadership team. “Perhaps a small pilot project would be instructive.”

The group offered the Cowper Drive and Fallon parks in the Five Points area as potential locations for a trial run.

The idea of using goats to control invasive species is becoming increasingly popular as a more environmentally friendly method of maintaining public property.

In June, a hedge fund manager in Detroit brought in a small herd of goats to chomp on overgrowth in abandoned plots in some of the city’s most rundown neighborhoods.

Last year, goats helped clean up Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., by munching on poison ivy.

The group of Raleigh residents suggested bringing in the goats to address what they say is a growing issue in the city.

“An overgrown park is like a vacant lot,” McLeod said.

Currently, the Parks and Recreation Department gives citizens a chance to help maintain parkland through the Adopt-A-Park Program. The partnership allows volunteers to host a cleanup workday twice a year.

“This is not sufficient no matter the number of volunteers,” McLeod said.

Wayne Schindler, the city’s parks superintendent, said there are simply not enough staff resources to provide for upkeep of the parks.

It is against city policy to allow volunteers to maintain public parks outside of scheduled cleanup workdays.

The city council asked the department to prepare a report for the Budget and Economic Committee’s September meeting. The committee will then decide whether to allocate more funds in the city’s budget to park maintenance, regardless of whether the plan includes goats.