Weed-eating goats scheduled to return to Bear Creek Park Nov. 2

       For the second straight fall, the Bear Creek Garden Association (BCGA) has raised enough money to bring back the weed-eating goats.

This goat was mixed up during last year's visit, stretching up for edible leaves from a tree instead of looking down for noxious weeds in Bear Creek Park.
Westside Pioneer file photo

       But this time there will be more of them.
       Herder Lani Malmberg of Landers, Wyo., who has a Masters degree in weed science from Colorado State University, will drive down with 700 to 800 head Tuesday, Nov. 2, according to Char Nymann, BCGA president.
       That compares with the roughly 500 that Malmberg provided in September 2009. Although the gardeners were happy with the results, they found the numbers weren't quite enough. In fact, in all the times the goats have come over the years, “they've never been completely able to finish,” Nymann said. “Even last year there were areas they weren't able to get to.”
       The plan is for the goats to gobble up the noxious weeds and at the same time fertilize the soil in a 19-acre area buffering the association's 2-acre community garden near the El Paso County Parks building southeast of 21st and Rio Grande streets.
       The public is welcome to come and watch them. A “welcoming ceremony” will probably be held sometime after Malmberg arrives, but no date and time had been announced as of press time. She will also give a talk on goat grazing while she's here, Nymann said.
       Malmberg is expected to stay one to two weeks. She will bring a trailer, her goats and herding dogs and set up a temporary residence near the BCGA garden set back from 21st and Rio Grande streets.
       The cost, between $5,000 and $6,000, is being paid by the BCGA, with the help of “grants, our annual cornstalk sale, the sale of our 'Sarge' book about Lani's head weed- eating goat and donations from the public and gardeners to fund the grazing,” Nymann said.
       The state requires the reduction of noxious weeds on public lands. The BCGA weeds the buffer area through an agreement with El Paso County Parks. Because the association opposes chemical sprays, its members weed the area by hand when they can't afford the goats.

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