University Facilities and Clemson researchers have joined forces to remove invasive species surrounding the banks of Hunnicutt Creek, using an unconventional, but proven method. A herd of goats have been brought in for a period of time to graze on the invasive plants, which make up the majority of the forest along the creek and choke out native species (view before pictures).
Click here to read-up on what the Clemson Newsstand has to say about this trip of goats!
Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense)
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
Kudzu (Pueraria montana)
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)
Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)
Oregon Grape (Mahonia bealei)
Silverthorn (Elaeagnus pungens)
Wisteria (Wisteria sp.)
The herd of about 40 goats are being rented from Wells Farm of Horse Shoe, NC. The diverse diet that these goats will be treated to over the course of their Clemson stay is actually more nutritious than conventional field-based grass grazing, according to Wells Farm. While they do have their preferences, the goats will eat any and all plants in the prescribed, fenced area. The herd will be contained with an electrified, marked fence to separate them from campus. University members and the community are cautioned to keep away from the research site while in progress.
Research of both the effectiveness and the ecological impacts of the goats will take advantage of their visit. A series of permanent plots have been established along the Hunnicutt Creek corridor. In each of the plots, plant diversity and cover, soil compaction, and invasive removal and regrowth will be studied, comparing areas within the prescribed goat grazing area and areas outside of it, which will be managed by either manual removal of invasives or chemical control of invasives or will be left alone as control plots. In addition, studies of bacteria and clarity of the water will compare water quality before the goats arrival and while they are grazing. Researchers on the project include Cal Sawyer, Don Hagan, Jeremy Pike, and student interns.
Kudzu and other invasives flourishing beside Lightsey Bridge before goats arrive.
Area beside Duke Power substation full of invasives before arrival of goats (goat fenceline visible).
Elaeagnus pungens and other invasive plants growing along stream-side path near Thornhill Village.
Ruben was consider a "pet" goat and was given a sepcial blue collar.
In 2015, Clemson had 70 more goats over the span of 7 weeks that ate 7 acres worth of invasive vegetation. Reba, the guard dog, is seen below.
The goats have another round on campus, this time they tackle the land across the street from the Esso Club. Proir to this the goats were located between Thornhill Village and Calhoun Courts.