The Idaho Transportation Department says it’s having success with its latest weed-control method for areas near water, where spraying herbicides is a no-no: Goats. A herd of about 100 rented goats was turned loose into a fenced area around a retention pond on Eagle Road in mid-May, just north of Chinden Boulevard. They spent two days munching on noxious weeds including white top, Scotch thistle and poison hemlock. And unlike either herbicides or mowing, the goats didn’t leave dry plant material behind that can fuel wildfires.
“It just looks better,” said Connie Marshall, ITD southwest Idaho roadside vegetation coordinator. “By the time the goats were done, the eyesore was gone.”
ITD launched its next goat project in the area yesterday, with about 30 goats chewing on weeds around a pond near I-84 and the Robinson Road overpass. Once they’re done there, the goats have two other appointments at unsightly, weedy spots along the freeway. The technique’s been used in other parts of the state and notably by the city of Boise, but this was the first time ITD tried it in this region. Said Dan Bryant, ITD’s Southwest Idaho maintenance coordinator, “The results are promising.”