Monday, April 16, 2012

Talking Trash and Getting Goat

A very small sample of the trash scavenged from the creek

We held our annual creek clean-up on Saturday, April 14.  About 115 volunteers came out on a beautiful spring morning to scour three miles of streambank for trash washed down from the upper watershed by the twin tropical storm floods we experienced last August and September.

The clean-up is our organization's biggest annual event in terms of attendance, but 115 volunteers is a smaller group than we usually attract.  It's a two edged sword, though; on the one hand fewer volunteers means that we collect a smaller volume of trash, while on the other hand, a smaller group is much easier to manage.  Actually, the trash-per-volunteer ratio seemed just about right this year.

I escorted a small group to clean up The Mysterious Island (see February 25 post).  Unfortunately, though we've had almost no rain this spring, the creek was still too deep for most members of the group to get across, so they cleaned the trash on the mainland and another fellow and I excavated tires, wood, and plastic debris embedded in the logjams that resulted from the flooding.  My most interesting find was a Nikon camera (sans guts).  In trading stories with other volunteers during the picnic lunch afterward, the best finds of the day were a gasoline powered lawnmower and soft drink vending machine.
Kali with a full load

On another front, my land stewardship staff has purchased four goats that we will use to clear invasive, non-native plants and underbrush.  The goats have been on site since last Monday (April 9) and are getting used to their surroundings.  They'll be set out into the field today to begin eating their way through multiflora rose, Asian bittersweet, and porcelainberry.  Kali has named them Mustard (for garlic mustard), Rosie (for multiflora rose), Honeysuckle (for Japanese honeysuckle) and Babe (because this goat is especially affectionate).  Stay tuned for updates.
Rosie (top) and Honeysuckle


Carolyn H said...

Scott: That's what I need! A goat or two to eat the autumn olive and multiflora rose. Be sure and let us know if yours earn their keep or not!

Scott said...

Carolyn: We're off to an inauspicious start. In less than a week, the goats have eaten everything green within reach in the pen surrounding their shed, and my staff is not ready to move them "into the field" yet. Plus (and I don't blame them), they aren't eating the multiflora rose canes, just the leaves. So, if we reduce/eliminate the browsing pressure, the multiflora roses will certainly put out a new flush of leaves. This is going to be an interesting activity--one which I'm not going to tolerate too long if my staff doesn't get its act together. I've already had it with pulling up masses of Japanese honeysuckle vines to feed the ravenous goats when I go over to visit them.