Virginia Town Plans to Use Goats to Fight Weeds - NBC4 Washington

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Virginia Town Plans to Use Goats to Fight Weeds

It turns out that the cheapest and most efficient way to battle weeds without chemicals has two horns and hoofs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Leesburg's Creative Weed Solution: Goats

    Leesburg, Virginia, has found an economical and eco-friendly solution to control weeds in its waterways: goats. News4' Drew Wilder reports. (Published Wednesday, April 24, 2019)

    A town council in Northern Virginia isn't letting an opportunity to end its use of a herbicide goat to waste.

    The town of Leesburg, Virginia, is planning to use goats to fight the growth of weeds along three floodway channels, replacing a chemical that it has used for years.

    The Leesburg Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to end the town's use of Aquaneat, a herbicide manufactured with the chemical glyphosate, and replace the sprayed-on chemical with a more natural, hairy and hoofed solution.

    The council plans to bring goats to the Town Branch waterway as early as June, a spokesperson told News4.

    The council is currently seeking out potential contractors to bring in and manage the goats, and has already spoken to two potential contractors, the spokesperson said.

    The town's Environmental Advisory Commission has long advocated against using Aquaneat because of the disputed link between glyphosate and cancer, the Loudoun Times reported.

    The herbicide was long used to kill various kinds of grasses, weeds and aquatic plants around three of Leesburg channels, including the Town Branch stream, a drainage waterway that runs through Carrvale Park and near the Plaza Street Bridge.

    According to the National Pesticide Information Center, while glyphosate has low toxicity levels and hasn't been determined to be carcinogenic, in some studies, the herbicide has been linked to cancer development.

    The three areas need constant maintenance and must be cleared of plants according to law so they don't cause flooding.

    According to the Loudoun Times, town staff offered three alternatives to Aquaneat, an organic herbicide called Avengers, machine or hand cutting of weeds or goats.

    But the cheapest and most efficient option ended up being the hairy, horned mammals.

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