A couple of dozen goats are spending the weekend at a lake in northwest Iowa, doing their part for a shoreline restoration project. The goats are grazing along the shoreline of Silver Lake, which is on the edge of the city of Lake Park in Dickinson County.
Catherine Sereg, the watershed coordinator for Silver Lake, says the goal is water quality.
“These goats are going to come in and clear away all the unwanted vegetation,” Sereg says. “They’re going to eat away all the plants, the leafy plants, and then we’ll come in and clear out any big trees.”
Once the goats and bulldozers have completed those tasks, native prairie grasses will be planted along the shoreline.
“When we bring in these native prairie plants, what happens is in the first year these plants are going to grow roots and it’s going to be a deep-rooted plant. Over time when these plants start to get really deep roots, that kind of protects that soil from going anywhere and so it’s going to have erosion control over any kind of wind, wave action, rain and things like that, so it’s going to keep our banks stable.”
The animals doing the initial work at Silver Lake come from “Goats on the Go” — an Ames-based company that rents goats to help clear away weeds, brush and invasive plants without the use of chemicals. The goats arrived at Silver Lake Thursday and are grazing there through Sunday. Silver Lake covers more than a thousand acres and has almost 10 miles of shoreline. Trappers Bay State Park is on the north side of the lake and the city of Lake Park wraps around the west and south sides.
(Reporting by Ryan Long, KICD, Spencer)