105 goats used to maintain grass along Nashville greenway

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – For the first time ever, Metro Water Services has rented goats to help maintain vegetation.

The goats have been on the job for two days so far. They’re helping maintain the steepest portion of the riverbank by the Cumberland River Greenway at Metro Center.

In the past, work crews and heavy equipment were used to tackle the steep and rocky terrain.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

“It’s very dangerous and expensive to mow,” explained Sonia Allman with Metro Water Services. “It’s a lot of man power hours with weed eaters.”

She continued, “You don’t want to have heavy machinery on the levee if you don’t have to, so we don’t want to compromise the stability of the levee so goats can maneuver very rocky terrain and very steep slopes.

So, for the next two months, the Metro government is hoping the 105 goats will eat the vegetation down to the ground.

“Goats eat a large percentage of their body weight,” Allman said. “Goats eat just about anything.”

While the area may be dangerous for work crews, it’s an easy task for the goats.

“Dangerous hillside? These goats can tackle it,” Josh Delozier of the Goat Guys said. “They are made to tackle it.”

He continued, “My number one goal is keeping these animals healthy. I will set up shelter to make sure they are out of the cold weather, out of the rain, out of the snow and I’ll supplemental feed if need be.”

Allman told News 2 the city will save money since it costs around $200,000 per year to maintain the same area with work crews and machinery. The goats will cost $40,000.

“Goats are very environmentally friendly, a very natural method, a very safe method and very cute method,” Allman said. “We are very excited about this.”

It’s expected the goats will take about two months to eat their way across the three-mile stretch of greenway.

In additional to eating away the growth, the goats also provide excellent fertilizer limiting some of the invasive plant regrowth and it is not detrimental to the water supply.

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