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Goats play through at golf course

CPRD dispatches 40 of the creatures to rid an acre of Chehalem Glenn of invasive species

Golfers are accustomed to all manner of manmade hazards designed to make a course more challenging. There’s pit bunkers, water, sand traps and that familiar territory marked with white pickets indicating out of bounds areas.

But goats?GARY ALLEN - Nibbling away - Ivy, poison oak, blackberries and other invasive species are no match for 40 goats that took over an acre of Chehalem Glenn golf course last week.

Those hackers playing Chehalem Glenn last week were witness to 40 Spanish and Kiko goats contained within an electric fence on about an acre of land directly adjacent to the fairway on the first hole. The goats were dispatched to the area for four days in an effort to rid the otherwise idyllic course of all manner of unwelcome plant life. It was a first for the district.

“The goats are actively eating blackberries, ivy, poison oak, brush and weeds,” said Bryan Stewart, golf and parks landscape coordinator for the Chehalem Park and Recreation District.

It was Stewart who researched bringing the hoofed consumers to the course, then found a Eugene company called Goat Power that could provide as many as they needed.

“Goats can access hard to reach areas, work 24 hours a day and are an environmentally friendly approach to eradicating invasive species,” Stewart said. “They digest the seeds, which eliminates the possibility for regrowth and, ultimately, this alternative reduces the use of herbicides and saves on fuel and equipment costs.”

Stewart explained that now that the goats have mowed down the area within the fence, the park district can reintroduce native plants to the area, which will further prevent the regrowth of invasive species.

It’s not likely this will be the last time golfers or other patrons will see the goats on park property.

“There are many acres throughout the district, such as trails and parks, that will benefit from using Goat Power,” Stewart said, adding that the goats were also dispatched to Newberg High School this week to rid an area behind the school long choked with briars and other plant life. He expects to bring the goats back to CPRD property next fall.

He said the golfers he spoke with got a kick out of seeing the animals next to the fairway and, so far, there haven’t proven to be any downsides to the program. “Golfers enjoyed the unique aspect and embraced the idea,” Stewart said, adding “They are as entertaining as they are beneficial and productive.”

And the hundreds of golf balls revealed by the goats’ work? Luckily, the goats just pass them buy, finding them not to their taste.

“They had plenty of plant material to keep them busy the days they were there,” he said.


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