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The goats are coming!

by: SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Goats will be returning to Wilsonville parks this summer; in this photo, a goat grazes at Tranquil Park last summer, part of a large herd assigned to cull the vegetation around the popular walking path.Every year Wilsonville welcomes special visitors to local parks. These visitors walk on four legs, love to eat anything green including ivy, have a great work ethic, enjoy spending time outdoors and they have recently visited Memorial and Tranquil parks. Yes, we are talking about goats and the city is bringing them back again this summer to help care for our parks.

For over 10 years, the city has enlisted goats to clear areas of vegetation that are overgrown with invasive plant species, such as English ivy and Himalayan blackberry. Goats have an especially strong digestive system that allows them to eat nearly any organic substance. Goats are also indiscriminate, which means they eat both invasive plant species and native vegetation.

After many years of testing and monitoring, staff has observed that once the goats have eaten their way through an area, the native plant species more successfully return to the area. The work done by the goats is also complimented by other control methods such as hand pulling and cutting of invasive plants performed by volunteers or work crews.

Once the goats have visited an area for two to three years in a row, it is much easier to reintroduce native plants to those areas. So after a few visits from the goats the city, in partnership with Friends with Trees, recruits volunteers to plant native species and restore the natural habitat in those areas.

The goat operation is also comprised of handlers and a guard dog to protect the goats from predators while they sleep overnight in their pen. So, now you know why you are seeing goats in our parks and how they play an important role in habitat restoration. For more information, contact Kerry Rappold, Natural Resources Program Manager, at 503-570-1570; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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