Point Reyes to unleash goats on invasive plants

Officials with Point Reyes National Seashore said they will begin an experiment next week to reduce the invasive plant species on about 12 acres of national parkland.

The experiment involves allowing goats to eat invasive plant species at the Historic D Ranch to gain control over the species and help park service officials maintain the site.

According to spokesman John Dell’Osso, park service officials are using the goats for the project because the goats will eat a variety of plants that cattle, elk and deer will not eat. Officials hope the goats will consume wild radish, poison hemlock and a variety of plants with thistles.

Using goats to treat vegetation at Point Reyes National Seashore is new, but officials at other park districts have used goats for invasive species control and fire fuel reduction. Officials at the seashore are planning to use a large number of goats during a short time period to treat the land.

The officials estimate that 100 goats can eat one acre of vegetation a day.