Grazing goats to clean Capitol Hill cemetery in D.C.

Two goats are seen at the Congressional Cemetery Wedneswday. (Stephen Tschida)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- Historical Congressional Cemetery called in the help of a herd that came out of a truck and went into the thick underbrush. The cemetery gets a lot of visitors, and on Wednesday, they got a fun surprise.

“Who knew goats were roaming the cemetery?” asks District resident Tasha Burns.

The area is overgrown with all kinds of invasive plants that are choking off the trees, threatening to kill them and send them falling onto the gravestones. And instead of herbicides to clear these annoying plants, the cemetery hired what they call ‘eco-goats.’

Brian Knox is the owner of Eco-Goats, and says: “The goats will defoliate from about six to seven feet to the ground. They will target the seeds and flower bank.”

These goats actually consume and kill these seeds so that they can keep an area clear for an extended period of time once they have finished chowing down. And a big plus to hiring these animals: the goats are about half the price of conventional remedies. More than 60 of them cost the cemetery just $4,000.

Paul Williams, President of the Historic Congressional Cemetery, says: “That's over a period of six days; if you break it down, that's about 25-cents an hour per goat.”

And Knox says there is another benefit to using goats for clearing unwanted plant life: “They're fun!”

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