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'Four-legged ambassadors'

Goats eat English ivy at Tranquil Park


by: JOSH KULLA - A herd of about 40 goats can be found eating their way through English ivy at Tranquil Park in Wilsonville.There are kids at Tranquil Park and they are eating the plants.by: JOSH KULLA - Goats are an environmentally friendly way to control invasive plant species. A bonus, they are cute and fun to watch.

Once again, the city of Wilsonville has brought in goats to one of its parks to help tame invasive plants.

Through the end of the week, about 40 goats are stationed at Tranquil Park at 10580 SW Brown Road. They are fenced in about 4 of the 4.57 acres at the park and are quickly eating their way through all the English ivy that is so hard to remove and contain.

According to Kerry Rappold, natural resources program manager, for the past 10 years the city has used goats on an annual basis to control invasive plants at both Memorial Park and Tranquil Park. By using goats, the city can avoid using herbicides and pesticides in the parks.

“It’s one of the tools we like to use,” Rappold said, calling the goats “four-legged ambassadors.”

This year, Wilsonville is working with a new company, Yoder Goat Rentals, based out of Molalla. The herd is smaller than those used in the past, which numbered up to 300. However, because there are about 40 goats this year, it means they can stay around a little longer.

The goats arrived early last week and are expected to finish their job by the end of this week. The goats are contained in a fenced area and spend the night in a corral on a neighboring property. A watch dog helps protect the weed eaters from predators.

Rappold said the owners of Yoder Goat Rentals have been great to work with and will allow people into the fenced area on a limited basis to visit with the goats. However, try not to distract them, as they have an important job to do.

On Aug. 21, some of the goats were brought to the neighborhood barbecue at Engleman Park for children and adults alike to pet.

“The community gets so excited when they come back to town,” Rappold said of the goats. “They have such distinct personalities.”by: JOSH KULLA - Goats are an environmentally friendly way to control invasive plant species. A bonus, they are cute and fun to watch.

Though the goats do eat everything in sight down to the nub, including native plants, Rappold has found that the regrowth after the goats leave is amazing.

“I’ve just found it to be successful over the years,” he said. “You see a really great rebound on the natives.”

The city follows up each year after the goats leave with native planting events with Friends of Trees. This helps diversify the native wildlife at the parks and rebuild the health of the habitat.by: JOSH KULLA - A herd of about 40 goats can be found eating their way through English ivy at Tranquil Park in Wilsonville.