Shelley Osterloh ReportingWhile the Environmental Impact study continues for the Legacy Parkway the Utah Department of Transportation is moving ahead with work on the Legacy Nature Preserve. And UDOT is getting help today from herd of goats.
These critters are eating machines. Human Crews have worked to clean the man made debris from this land. Now this herd of 750 goats is cleaning up the rest of what will one day be the Legacy Nature Preserve.
Jason Garn, D'Goat Ranch: "Poison can also kill the bugs or insects that the shoreline birds eat and different things. We don't kill those, they still have habitat."
Jason Garn moves his herd of goats across the land, cleaning up weeds. What makes these goats so good at their job is that they leave the native grasses and eat the flowering portions of invasive weeds --- in this field its things like short white tip, musk thistles, russian napweed and poison hemlock.
John H. Thomas P.E., Project Director, Legacy Parkway Team: "The goats clean up noxious weeds, fertilize the ground preparing it for the native vegetation."
The goats have a narrow jaw and they actually chew and masticate the seeds destroying them as they eat so there is no chance of the seeds going through the digestive track and reseeding later.
This area is part of the Great Salt Lake eco system that supports many migratory birds. It is adjacent to the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area. UDOT officials say when the land is restored, it will be protected wetland for birds and co-exist with the Legacy Parkway.
John H. Thomas P.E.: "In March we have over 500 eagles migrating through this area. It’s a tremendous resource to the state and we are very appreciative of the collaborative design team helping UDOT to find its future."
That team is made up of a dozen different organizations concerned about the environment and wildlife, as well as the Army Corp of engineers and the Federal Highway administration. Next Tuesday that team will host an open house to discuss plans for the Legacy Nature Preserve. By then these goats will have moved on to other weedy fields.