Conservation Wildlife Management

Goats Take Care of Weed Problem

Hearty diet should restore grass on Montana mountainside

Outdoor Life Online Editor

To curb rampant weed growth, Montana will release 850 leased goats onto Mount Helena. City officials in Helena are hoping the goats, with their seemingly insatiable hunger (they eat 4percent of their body weight daily), will restore the balance between the native grasses and weeds like leafy spurge and Dalmatian toadflax.

Four years ago the city attempted a similar feat, placing 50 goats in pens on the mountainside. Several of the animals escaped, though, and the results were mixed. The new battle plan includes two herders and several dogs to keep tabs on the goats.

The cost to rid the popular park of weeds is $11,000. Helena resident Joe Dooling owns a company that leases goats to farmers for weed control. He is providing them to the city from a ranch in Texas.