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A herd of 80 goats will be let loose in a Minneapolis park

Goats really like buckthorn.

A bunch of goats will be roaming around a Minneapolis park starting Tuesday.

About 80 goats from Diversity Landworks will be let loose at Cedar Lake East Beach in Minneapolis at 2 p.m. – to eat, an email news release says.

Goats are really good at eating and they love invasive plants like buckthorn. So for the next 10 days, they'll be put to work clearing away those stubborn plants from a six-acre area at the park.

And then in late July, goats will munch on invasive plants in Theodore Wirth Park as the city evaluates how effective the goats are at controlling invasive species.

The city is paying $33,000 for the goats, the Star Tribune reports.

If you see the goats, you're welcome to watch them from behind the fencing. But be sure to let them be – they've got a job to do.

Why goats?

Goats are becoming a popular way to get rid of invasive plants, and Minneapolis is the latest city to call in a herd.

A team of goats was in St. Paul earlier this month (they were so popular one was even stolen, but he's now back home). Goats have also been called into parks in Minnetonka, Cottage Grove, Rochester, and Northfield in recent years, among other places.

They're popular because they're environmentally friendly. They eat everything, so you don’t have to worry about using fuel-powered equipment or plant poison.

The key is in the way they graze. They eat the stems, so invasive plants can't spread their seeds, and they also eat bark, which causes the plant to die. Plus, the goats like broad-leafed plants, so they eat that first and usually leave grass alone.

Also, they can navigate steep terrain a lot better than a person using heavy machinery.

And they eat a lot. GoMN visited Goat Dispatch, another company that uses goats to clear invasive plants, last year. Owner Jake Langeslag said each animal can eat a garbage bag full of greens a day.

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