Herd about the latest additions to EastLink’s landscaping team? Goats are now helping clear noxious weeds and reduce the fuel load from a steep and rocky parcel of land along the tollway.
The landscaping team responsible for maintaining 480ha identified a small area where blackberry and flax-leaved broom had taken hold and where overgrown vegetation presented a potential fire risk. However, the rugged area posed significant safety risks to staff and equipment.
The environmentally friendly, sustainable and safe solution was for the team to engage the services of a herd of goats. The sure-footed animals are at home on the tough terrain and have displayed quite an appetite for the weeds since being introduced to the area last December.
Unable to get on to the tollway or the EastLink Trail, the animals are able to safely feed on the weeds’ foliage and leaf buds, which exhausts the root system and kills the plant while leaving the soil fungi, insects and worms unharmed. The area’s potential fire load is not only being eaten, it is also being trampled by the goats, and this meant the area required no extra attention over summer.
The goats have been provided and cared for by Colin Arnold, of Graze Away, who has been working with goats for 20 years to assist in the restoration of native habitats.
These ‘Staff Members of the Month’ will provide a better habitat for ground fauna and will in turn attract a greater variety of birds, such as wrens, kites, butcher birds, finches and kookaburras.