HOUSTON (KIAH) — The word “goat” is often used these days as an acronym for “greatest of all time”.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department believes goats are the greatest way to clear unnatural vegetation from F.M. Law Park near Hobby Airport.
This area actually had a lot of poison ivy in it which made it impossible for us to bring humans in here to do any additional work,” city park naturalist Cassidy Kempf said. “So this was the small section of our project that we really thought would be good for the goats, because they love poison ivy.City park naturalist Cassidy Kempf
Kempf says goats are the best tool for this job over humans, machines, and chemicals.
“They have downsides that the goats don’t have,” she said. “They have fossil fuel emissions and input chemicals into the environment. So this is a really good way to do a natural plant removal.”
Goats, of course, have emissions of their own.
But Kempf says their feces doesn’t have the bacteria levels of other animals.
That’s important, because the improvements at F.M. Law Park near Sims Bayou are part of a city-wide project to improve water quality by cleaning up forested areas near waterways.
Hard-working goats have personalities
The man in charge of the herd sleeps in his truck on the outskirts of the park.
Terry Carr, along with an electric fence, makes sure the goats don’t run off — but more importantly — that predators, including humans, don’t mess with them.
They may be beasts of burden, but Carr says they all have personalities.
“They’re named,” he said. “A hundred and 50 all have name tags. I don’t know them all. My daughter-in-law knows them all. I can be a hundred yards away and yell “goaty goaty” and they start running to me. They’re that tame.”