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Goats are Coming to New River Gorge to Help Clear Invasive Plants

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Goats are coming to help clear invasive plants from the New River Gorge. Beginning Friday, September 7, visitors to Thurmond will be rewarded with the unusual sight of goats grazing on the hillside above this historic railroad town. 

The National Park Service at New River Gorge National River is preparing to implement a plan to use goats to treat invasive plants at Thurmond. Resource managers are experimenting with using an integrated pest management approach to treat non-native vegetation including Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose, and kudzu. 

These invasive plants tend to take over an area, forcing out native species.

Goats have proved to be effective at killing plants. They eat all the foliage, and goats also eat flowers, which ensures the plant will not go to seed. 

Credit courtesy New River Gorge National River
Kudzu in Thurmond, W.Va.

The goats will remain at Thurmond for approximately one month, or until they have depleted the foliage. This is part of a three-year project, so they will return over the next two years.

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