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Goats Help City Go Green To Combat Weeds

By Kelly Werthmann

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)- It's not every day you see a goat on a leash, but that's how eight goats were paraded into Lewis Meadows Park in Wheat Ridge.

"This started as a crazy idea," Amanda Weaver of Five Fridges Farm told a crowd at the park Saturday morning.

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Amanda Weaver of Five Fridges Farm (credit: CBS)

The animals from the nearby farm moved to the fenced off once-acre lot to do… well… just what goats like to do.

"What they're doing is they're going to graze down to about four inches," Weaver explained.

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Weaver's goats will graze particularly on the overgrown grasses and noxious weeds. The City of Wheat Ridge enlisted their help when other methods wouldn't cut it.

"It is tough for mowers to get in some spots and spraying wasn't an option," Margaret Paget, Forestry and Open Spaces Supervisor for the City of Wheat Ridge, told CBS4's Kelly Werthmann.

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Amanda Weaver of Five Fridges Farm (credit: CBS)

The goat-grazing idea was first put into action when a stretch of right of way was overgrown near Five Fridges Farm along West 38th Avenue. Weaver runs an organic farm and was opposed to spraying chemicals near her property, but the area was too difficult for mowers. So, Paget suggested using the goats and it's an idea proven successful for the last four years.

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CBS4 photojournalist Robert Sanchez with goats (credit: CBS)

"[The goats are] dealing with invasive weeds and they're breaking down that seed pod completely before it gets pooped out," Weaver said. "As opposed to a horse that's going to have seed remnants and often continues to spread invasive weeds."

Neighbors living in the area said they're excited to see the goats at work because the park really needs it. It is a project the city says could be cost effective over the years and beneficial in more ways than one.

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"The other great thing is they're pooping as they go," Weaver said. "So, they're fertilizing. It's really a win-win-win thing."

That fertilizer will come in handy when the city plants new vegetation later this year. Until then, the goats will graze while neighbors gaze with excitement.

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"I think it's wonderful," neighbor Colleen Bates said. "I like to see the goats."

Weaver said her goats will stay in Lewis Meadows Park for about two to three weeks before moving to another location near Clear Creek.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 This Morning over the weekend and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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