Houston Parks and Recreation to employ 150 goats for habitat restoration on city's southeast side

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Thursday, September 15, 2022
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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Parks and Recreation Department will utilize a safer and natural method to assist with the restoration of a local golf club. They will be using 150 goats!

The goats will remove unwanted vegetation in a forested area at FM Law Park in southwest Houston, where parks and recs officials plan to implement a new habitat restoration project.

The department says that goats are one of the many ways its Natural Resources Division manages habitats in city parks. Other methods are used, such as mowing, fire, and manual removal. Those help the department save costs, reduce chemicals, and decrease fossil fuel emissions.

The department's Natural Resources Division manages the natural areas within City of Houston parks, totaling over 17,000 acres of forests, prairie, and wetland habitat.

"The Houston Parks and Recreation Department is excited to use a variety of methods to help us care for our important natural areas in parks," Kenneth Allen, the department's director, said. "The use of goats in this manner is a safe and proven alternative to chemical treatments for weed control."

Once the goats have cleared through the vegetation, a crew from the Student Conservation Association will come in and remove invasive species in the park.

"The goats will be placed in the areas with the thickest vegetation to help open it up for our habitat crews to enter safely."

"Goats are an important tool for HPARD to clear out invasive vegetation in our habitat restoration areas," Kelli Ondracek, Houston parks and rec's Natural Rescources manager, said.

The habitat restoration project at FM Law Park is funded by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and is in partnership with the Student Conservation Association.

The goats will be monitored 24/7 and will be surrounded by electric fencing.

Visitors are asked not to feed or touch the goats if they plan on visiting the park.