A Herd of Goats Has Been Deployed in One Center Grove Neighborhood
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One Center Grove neighborhood is proving that everything old is new again. A herd of goats has been deployed to perform ‘targeted grazing’, a method to help manage unwanted vegetation in a sustainable way.
Waters Edge subdivision is the current site of the former Center Grove Lake. Built by the Pennington family in the 1950s, Center Grove Lake was a popular place for residents to swim, fish and picnic all the way into the early 2000s. History eventually gave way to progress and that area was developed into what is now Waters Edge subdivision.
Today, along with decades of memories, the lake and the dam remain. Jim Wikel, caretaker of the dam, explains the conundrum which led to this natural conservation effort.
“Every two years, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources requires an inspection of all dams,” he says. “They’ll walk the slope of the dam looking for structural issues, gopher holes, slippages, trees — anything that would compromise the integrity of the dam. Normally, we mow this and control the natural vegetation growth with weed-eaters and bushwhackers, but the presence of poison ivy presented a new challenge.”
Wikel recalled an article he read years ago that piqued his curiosity. After further research and a few phone calls, Goats On The Go Indy was hired.
Goats are one of nature’s purest forms of weed-eaters and bushwhackers. Chomping and chewing their way through dense vegetation, they open up overgrown areas and help to restore native landscapes without the use of herbicides. Goats deal with steep slopes and rough terrain with little erosion and with much less safety risk than humans. Honeysuckle, multi-flora, little trees, thistle and even poison ivy are just some of the vegetation that are favorable to goats and the protein content of some of these plants far exceeds that of the very best hay available. No other animal can consume, digest and make use of those nutrients other than a goat.
At Waters Edge, Goats On The Go Indy ringed the targeted area with a solar-powered electric fence and 23 female goats were delivered. For five days, these ‘ladies’ feasted their way through the area easily accomplishing what would have been a hazard to humans.
They were monitored every day of their assignment and were provided plenty of fresh water and mineral supplements.
“They’re doing a great job,” Wikel says. “They really like the slope. The difference in this vegetation in just a few days is remarkable. Aside from the ‘nature at work’ aspect, I’ve just really enjoyed watching them every day.”
To learn more about Goats On The Go Indy, visit goatsonthego.com/milanohossom.