Goats To Rid Historic Congressional Cemetery of Weeds

Image: Goats To Rid Historic Congressional Cemetery of Weeds

Thursday, 01 Aug 2013 11:40 PM

By Cathy Burke

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A herd of goats will soon be shepherded into the Historic Congressional Cemetery to feast on a tangle of weeds and vines infesting the nearly two-acre plot where the remains of J. Edgar Hoover and scores of congressmen and veterans are buried.

"I think it's going to be fun for the whole community," said Paul K. Williams, president of the non-profit association that operates the graveyard, U.S. News reported.

Starting Aug. 7, more than 100 animals from Eco Goats “will graze 24 hours a day for six days, eliminating vines, poison ivy, ground cover and even fallen debris all the while fertilizing the ground,” the Capitol Hill cemetery said in a statement.

“This a unique project that combines natural and cultural resources, providing the perfect solution for us since we arce located so close to the Anacostia River edge,” Williams said in the statement, noting the non-profit association didn’t want to use chemicals so close to the river.

He said he read about the company offering herbicide-free weed control at a cemetery near Baltimore and got the idea for using the goats at the Historic Congressional Cemetery.

An electrified eight-foot chain link fence will keep the hungry herd from getting near the tombstones of the former FBI director, former Vice President Elbridge Gerry, the renowned Civil War photographer Mathew Brady, 19 senators and more than 70 members of Congress.
"Ten thousand volts and food on the inside” keeps things in order, Eco-Goats founder Brian Knox told U.S. News.

"We use the fencing to focus the goats, but it's also predator control," he said. "In urban environments that tends to mean teenagers and dogs."

The company charges $375 a day; it’ll be the herd’s first job inside the Beltway.

The Historic Congressional Cemetery had its most recent burial last week. Williams says around 25 to 35 people are interred in plots each year, and about 5,000 visitors stop by annually


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