Dozens of goats have been set loose at the Historic Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., as part of an effort to rid the grounds of overgrown ivy, weeds, and other vegetation.
Up to 70 goats will rid the land of a budding jungle that is 7 feet high in the rear of the cemetery, ABC News reported.
Cemetery officials were worried that the vegetation would weigh down and threaten the stability of the trees at the site, toppling them onto historic headstones.
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The Congressional Cemetery is the final resting place for former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and some 200 members of Congress and their families. Founded in 1807, the cemetery is owned by nearby Christ Church of Washington and is run by the Association for the Preservation of The Historic Congressional Cemetery. The nonprofit collects contributions to pay for the upkeep.
About 60,000 people in total are buried at the cemetery, which is also open to citizens who don't work for the government.
Paul Williams, president of the nonprofit, said using goats makes the most sense.
“Rather than use herbicides and pesticides and spray this whole area, we really wanted to put the money toward something more eco-friendly,” he told ABC.
Brian Knox, supervising forester of Maryland-based Eco-Goats, the firm hired to manage the grazing, told Politico
that he had planned to use two herds of about 30 animals each. He said the weeds and ivy should be cleared within a week.
This isn’t the first time goats have been employed to get rid of threatening vegetation. Authorities in fire-prone Southern California, for example, have long used goats to rid hills of chaparral and other plants that could cause a widespread blaze. The Los Angeles Times noted
that L.A. officials once brought in about 100 goats to nibble away at weeds near the Angels Flight rail line on Bunker Hill.
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