Though goats could work in the Waveny cornfields area to rid it of a plant that’s become overgrown there, the project would be about two years long and it’s not clear just how many of the animals would be needed, town officials say.
The goats that this summer started eating up invasive plants at Irwin Park are working in an approximately half-acre space, but the area in Waveny’s southeastern corner is far larger at five acres, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann.
“The problem was that once we got rid of the phragmites, it left an area open,” Mann said during a Sept. 11 meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission, referring to a highly invasive grass that had taken over the area previously.
“Weeds are going to take over first and weeds tend to take over the clover,” he said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “The clover seed that was placed out there just did not take off enough and the mugwort took over.”
The stalks and root systems of phragmites were removed from the cornfields as part of a nonprofit organization’s project, and the entire area then was regraded and roto-tilled. It is to be reseeded as wildflower meadows, with panned enhancements that include trails, seating areas and wildlife lookouts.
Yet it appears overgrown, according to Sally Campbell, a Parks & Rec commissioner who also serves as vice chair of the Waveny Park Conservancy board.
Campbell asked Mann about the prospect of using goats there.
Mann said that mugwort is one of the plants that goats enjoy, though the town also is looking now at “cutting out all the mugwort before it goes to seed.”
“There is some equipment that is out there that we could rent or hire a contractor whereby they cut it and it’s actually baled out at the exact same time, so you don’t have to worry about the seeds and expanding the area for it, and hauling it back out again,” Mann said.