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Reprinted from the Thursday, April 26, 2001, edition of the
Wyoming Tribune-Eagle with permission of
Cheyenne Newspapers, Inc., Copyright 2001. All rights reserved.

Noxious weeds get city's goat

Animals will help environmental management department
By Tim Lockwood, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle

     CHEYENNE - City officials are going to extremes to prove they are equal opportunity employers.
     In early May, the city administration will pay a dollar a head for up to 500 Cashmere goats to help out with a 30-year problem.
     The goats are owned and managed by Lani Lamming of Ewe4ic Ecological Services of Alpine, Wyo. They perform a unique and increasingly sought-after service: They will spend about two weeks eating noxious weeds along Crow Creek.
     Cheyenne environmental management director Bob Lee said one great aspect is the goats only eat noxious or illegal weeds - and they don't need any coaxing.
     "Cashmere goats are basically browsers, not grazers," he said. "They don't eat grass, only broadleaf plants."
     Lee said that includes the 23 species of noxious weeds in Laramie County.
     He said the weeds are considered illegal because they are not native to Wyoming and have no natural predators.
     Weed and Pest has used a number of measures to fight them in the past, but often only one species at a time. But Lee said goats will eat all the weeds.
     He said he found out about the program about five years ago and has been working on bringing in the goats since then as part of the department's integrated pest management program.
     He said the idea of the program is to attempt weed an pest control through the least-toxic method first.
     Lee said this is not a new program either. He said much of his control work is done with biological alternatives. In fact, almost all the mosquito control is biological as is filth fly control.
     As an additional part of the goat program, the department will be spreading a competitive grass in front of the animals to also help manage the weeds.
     Lee said people need not be afraid of the goats, but he doesn't recommend rushing to pet them.
     Ewe4ic's brochure says, "Our alternative kids (goats, of course) are very intelligent, easy to handle, mellow and friendly to people."
     After a special City Council session Wednesday to approve the use of goats, member Don Pierson said he looks forward to seeing what they can accomplish.
     "I think it's a good idea if it works," he said. "But the idea of 500 goats roaming in the city does seem a little strange."
     But Pierson added it's a great way to preserve the habitat and take care of a pressing problem at the same time.
     Lee said he hopes to use the goats twice a season for three years and, maybe, by then the weeds will be manageable.


"Frozen dinner?"

Dana Ferguson and a young border collie watch over a herd of goats during a snow storm on Crow Creek in Cheyenne, Wyo., March 3. The goats were used to help clear the creek of noxious weeds before moving on to other jobs throughout the summer. They returned in August for another round of weed removal after working the front range of the rockies from Southern Colorado to Montana.
Photo by Larry Brinlee, Staff Photographer
Reprinted from the Thursday, May 3, 2001, edition of the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle with permission of Cheyenne Newspapers, Inc., Copyright 2001. All rights reserved.


"A day's work done"

Taz the border collie jumps over the fence while his friend Bozo takes a last look at the goat herd before returning to camp for the night in Cheyenne, Wyo., August 8. Ewe4ic Ecological Services of Alpine, Wyo., has brought 1,100 goats to Cheyenne for the second time this year to eat noxious weeds along two creeks. The goats have been working the front range of the rockies throughout the summer.
Photo by Larry Brinlee, Staff Photographer
Reprinted from the Wednesday, August 29, 2001, edition of the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle with permission of Cheyenne Newspapers, Inc., Copyright 2001. All rights reserved.

 

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