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Civic Affairs


Oklahoma City forms Hefner canal goat herd

by William Crum Modified: August 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm •  Published: August 18, 2014

Goats may be the solution to keeping weeds and brush in check along the Hefner Canal.

Oklahoma City is partnering with Langston University’s Goat Research Extension Program to turn a small herd of goats loose along the canal between Northwest Expressway and Wilshire Boulevard.

Mowing along that stretch is difficult, and city officials think goats could help them save gas, reduce use of chemical weed killers, prevent erosion, and reduce the risk of employee injuries.

The city will check on the goats each day, water them and feed a guard dog.

The canal already is fenced, so it’s unlikely nearby residents would find goats wandering into their neighborhoods.

The six-month trial has begun and could be extended and expanded if it works out.

The goats were busy Monday afternoon, bunched together and gnawing on brush and leaves. A shelter will offer protection from the rain. A large plastic basin holds drinking water for them.

Goats already are used to control weeds and brush in Stillwater and Portland, Ore., and by the National Park Service.

OKC’s herd consists of 19 goats at the moment.

Worth considering:

The city cites studies showing goats reduce brush cover by 50 to 90 percent in the first year, clearing one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half acres per month. They are said to thrive on weeds, grass and woody vegetation.
by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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