Sheep And Goats Could Restore Wis. Prairie

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MADISON, Wis., July 29 (UPI) — Herds of sheep and goats devouring invasive brush will help restore the native prairie at a Wisconsin site of a former army ammunition plant, officials said.

Officials of a commission overseeing the transition of the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant to local control for eventual recreational use are considering how to restore prairie, a goal of the commission’s land reuse plan, the (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal reported Friday.

One of the groups responsible for land management at Badger has proposed using goats and sheep to remove the existing brush and control invasive vegetation in the future.

“There are people that actually have businesses throughout the United States and use sheep and goats in vegetation management as a consulting service,” Cherrie Nolden of the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance said.

The oversight commission approved Nolden’s concept plan for an eventual two-year study on the use of animals to control vegetation.

“Badger has a huge invasive species problem, and she probably put one and one together to make two,” commission Chairman Bill Wenzel Jr. said of Nolden. “It seems like a pretty good fit. It’s a go as far as we’re concerned.”

Nolden, who studied wildlife biology and ecological systems at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, say animals are vital to prairie health.

“Our prairies evolved with large herds of bison, elk, deer and since we reduced those populations the prairies have declined,” Nolden said. “The prairie needs disturbance to remain a prairie or they’re going to be invaded by brush or trees.”

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