Policy: Environment & Energy

Goats ordered to clear weeds at J. Edgar Hoover's cemetery

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Environment,Energy and Environment

"Eco-goats" are being dispatched to the Capitol Hill's historic Congressional Cemetery — home to former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's plot — to take care of invasive weeds.

The cemetery said 100 goats will graze along the perimeter of the operating facility, which also provides the resting place of a former vice president, a Supreme Court Justice, 19 senators and 71 representatives.

From the cemetery:

Washington, DC — For the first time, Historic Congressional Cemetery welcomes a grazing herd of 100+ live "eco" goats to control invasive species threatening the National Historic Landmark.

The non-profit Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery has partnered with Eco-Goats, to introduce Washington's first herd of grazing goats that will be grazing temporarily along the perimeter of the cemetery. A media event will introduce this innovative "green" project on Aug. 7 and the goats will be available to view from Aug. 7- Aug. 12.

This innovative environmental project will clear the exterior perimeter fenced area of invasive species using nothing other than 100+ live goats. The goats will graze 24 hours a day for six days, eliminating vines, poison ivy, ground cover and even fallen debris all the while fertilizing the ground. The revolutionary use of eco-goats eliminates the need for harmful herbicides and prevents the invasive and often foreign species from killing large mature trees in the cemetery's wooded area, which can fall onto the grounds as a result and damage invaluable historic headstones.

"This a unique project that combines natural and cultural resources, providing the perfect solution for us since we are located so close to the Anacostia River edge," stated Paul K. Williams, President of Historic Congressional Cemetery, " We don't want to utilize chemicals due to our riverside location and because of our membership only, off-leash dog walking program. "

The public is encouraged to visit this unique living project, the first of its kind in Washington, D.C. Aug. 7 - 12. The livestock will be penned outside the burial areas in a 1.6 acre heavily wooded area for approximately 6 days, but easily visible to those walking in the cemetery, open dawn to dusk.

"This is an exciting opportunity for us to demonstrate the positive aspects of using goats to help reduce and control problem vegetation. This is also the first time we have found a suitable partner for a project inside the beltway," said Brian Knox, owner and supervising forester of Annapolis-based Eco-Goats.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.

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