Rotary Riverside Park Utilizing Goats to Manage Invasive Buckthorn
The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District, in partnership with the City of Brainerd Parks Department and the Brainerd Rotary Club, will be utilizing goats to manage invasive species at the Rotary Riverside Park with funds from a Minnesota Conservation Partners Legacy grant.
The goats are being contracted through Minnesota Native Landscapes, a native restoration company based out of Otsego, Minnesota.
In an effort to reduce the amount of herbicide used to control invasive species, goats will be grazing for the management of European Buckthorn. According to the Minnesota Department of Health’s website, Buckthorn is defined as a pest to forests that crowd out native plants and displace the native shrubs and small trees in the mid-layer of the forest where many species of birds nest.
Over the past four years, the SWCD and the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa have been managing Buckthorn using a cut and spray method to remove seed trees as well as thickets that would be too tall for grazing.
Now, targeted areas on the property are lush with Buckthorn seedlings and will be grazed by the goats in place of foliar spraying the invasive species. Using goats will open up the entire understory of these targeted areas that will allow them to plant other species that will take the place of the encroaching Buckthorn.