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June 20, 2017 - “Meet and Bleat” With the Weed Grazing Goats of Boulder on June 22

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Media Contacts:
Denise White, Parks and Recreation, 303-413-7258
Sarah Huntley, Media Relations, 303-441-3155

“Meet and Bleat” with the Weed Grazing Goats of Boulder on June 22

The City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department, along with Mutton Mowers LLC, invites the public to attend a “Meet and Bleat” on Thursday, June 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Christensen Park, 3100 Kings Ridge Blvd.

For nearly two decades, the city has effectively used goats to assist in weed control efforts as herds graze on invasive plants at properties such as Eaton Park, Harlow Platts Park and the natural areas at the Pleasant View Fields Sports Complex and Gerald Stazio softball fields. About 20 goats, a mix of Alpine, Boer, LaMancha, pigmy and Nigerian dwarf breeds, nibble on invasive and noxious weed species like Canada thistle, diffuse knapweed, reed canarygrass and more each summer. They have proven to be a viable, biological tool in managing certain invasive plants.

The goats also provide many cultural weed management benefits from clearing the understory, which promotes species diversity and deters one species from dominating, to pruning the overstory, which provides more sunlight in shady areas.

“We are lucky to have grazing as an option as we take an integrated approach to ecosystem and weed management, especially in an urban setting, which comes with unique challenges,” said John Wold, natural resource specialist with Boulder Parks and Recreation. “The goats not only provide active control on certain plant species, but also provide cultural benefits like consuming a compounding thatch layer to open the area up and promote competition of other, hopefully native, plant species that are being suppressed.”

The goats have proven to be popular. The herd, accompanied by a guard llama named Silver, frequently draws a crowd when spotted at work.

“I love my goats and I love how they bring a little natural back to these urban areas,” said Emily McMurtey, owner of Mutton Mowers LLC. “I believe in the ecological benefits my goats provide, but my favorite part of each grazing project is the positive effect my goats have on the people and the communities around them.”

Thursday’s drop-in event invites the public to meet and pet a few of the goats including Bubbles, Chip and Coco Puff. City of Boulder and Mutton Mowers staff will be on site to answer questions about land management, weed control and the use of the goats for these activities. Please leave dogs at home or leash them if attending while the goats and working guard llama are present to protect all. Additionally, parking in this area is limited so please use alternate modes of transportation to attend if possible.

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