Goats brought in from New York to eat invasive plants in Thurmond

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THURMOND, WV (WVNS) — A team of goats were brought in from New York to graze in Thurmond as weapons of ‘grass’ destruction.

Their mission is to chow down on invasive plant species quickly taking over regions, like the New River Gorge. National Park Service District Supervisor, Dave Bieri, said the goats arrived in early July and will be here for three months, as part of an experiment in its third year.

“These invasive species were brought in here and they’ve established populations,” Bieri added. “A lot of time, they really get out of control pretty quickly because they don’t have any natural predators that eat them. The grasses and plants here have pretty much taken over this location.”

Invasive species not only affect the natural ecosystem in Thurmond, but these plants, like Kudzu, can actually damage historical resources like homes and buildings. But, thanks to the goats, Bieri said they’ve already seen a slight decrease in Kudzu.

In addition to preserving the town of Thurmond, Bieri believes the goats are a great alternative to costly human labor, which can involve potentially harmful chemicals.

“The hope is that three years after eating, they’ll get to the point where we can re-vegetate with native species here and hopefully wipe out this population,” Bieri said.

Bieri said this will be the last year of the experiment. People visiting Thurmond can walk by the fenced off three acres of land and potentially see the five goats working.

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