From June 24 until July 2 or 3, a 110-goat team will browse and clear vegetation in the 58,000 square foot stormwater detention pond on the south side of Alderwood Mall near the AMC Theaters.
The idea to use goats came from the use of ruminants by other local municipalities like Shoreline and Seattle, who both have successfully used goats to manage weeds and other unwanted vegetation in their cities. The stormwater pond in Lynnwood has been maintained by City of Lynnwood Public Works personnel in the past, but the job can prove difficult given the steep terrain around the pond. Maintenance workers often have a hard time reaching some vegetation on rocky or unstable ground, and have even accidentally fallen into the pond on occasion while clearing brush.
By contrast, goats are more sure-footed on steep slopes and are highly efficient in removing unwanted vegetation like blackberries, ivy, small trees, and thistles. Goats are also more cost effective on the whole, clearing one square foot for a mere $0.13 as opposed to the estimated $0.27 it would cost for a city crew to clear the same area.
While it may take slightly longer for goats to do the same job as a human crew, the benefits of using goats are numerous. Aside from cost savings and safety, using goats to clear land dramatically reduces or eliminates the need for chemical to control vegetation. Another benefit is that when goats eat weed seeds their digestive system actually sterilizes the seed so when it is excreted it cannot sprout. This further enhances the longevity between vegetation control in areas cleared by goat.
With sustainability and effectiveness in mind, the city may consider using goats on future vegetation control projects in Lynnwood.