The City of Victoria is going green by using the ever-hungry goat to clean up Riverside Park.
Twenty-six goats showed up to work at 7 a.m. Tuesday with their never-ending appetite.
“Goat will eat just about anything. They eat any kind of weed,” said Terry Hatfield, goat tender for GoatScapers out of Port Lavaca.
The goats even eat poison ivy, pulling it from the roots and eating the seeds – reducing the likelihood of it growing back.
Because of weeds and overgrowth, areas of the park have been closed for more than a decade. People couldn't easily access the river's beach.
“You really couldn't walk out here,” said Ashton Kelley, a photographer. “There were just too many weeds and branches and grass. It was quite impossible, actually.”
The city hopes the goats will help clean up the park so it can become a place families can enjoy.
“We are hoping they do a really good job, clear a very clean pathway to the river. Stay budget friendly with it,” said MicKayla Mosmyer, recreation coordinator for the city of Victoria.
The city is renting the goats for $1,200 a week for the next two months. The grand total for the trial period is $9,600.
The goats will put in 10 hours a day, four days a week, while eating about 90 percent of the time in sometimes steep terrain.
“They are nature's way of cleaning – they walk up and down all types of terrain,” said Hatfield.
Each goat can eat about 15 pounds of weeds a day. Together, the goats can clear out an acre in four days.
One of the side benefits is fire prevention.
Texas A&M will be watching to see how well the goats do at clearing the river banks to reduce fire hazards.