Leesburg’s herbicide free weed control effort is underway along Town Branch and the project is drawing attention.
Starting Monday morning, a small herd of goats began dining on unwanted vegetation in the stream channel.
Following public pressure, the Town Council in April unanimously voted to discontinue its use of herbicides for the work. Council members decided instead to turn to the practice of using goats for clearing the growth.
According to Director of Public Works and Capital Projects Renee LaFollette, goats can quickly clear plant growth and will be relatively cost effective compared to other options that were considered. A $53,000 contract was awarded to Prosperity Acres, LLC, from Sunderland, MD, on June 29.
Fencing was installed over the weekend for the first phase of the project just behind the Dry Mill townhomes. Once the waterway has been cleared, the goats will be relocated to the Plaza Street flood-way, toward the end of July.
Residents are asked to stay away from the goats, avoid petting or feeding them, and to keep dogs leashed at all times. The unusual sight has been attracting curious passersby and the animals have been called to pose for photos between snacks.