SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Progress is being made, but Yerxa Park in South Portland continues to have an invasive plant problem.
"Japanese knotweed is really tough to control."
Fred Dillion is the Stormwater Coordinator for the city and is helping to tackle the widespread issue.
"Typically synthetic pesticides are used for it, because it's so tough."
Synthetic pesticides are not an option however, ever since the city banned them in stages starting in 2016.
City officials have had to find an alternative way to defeat the aggressive vegetation.
Goats were the city's go-to idea last year. It worked so well, the goats were invited back.
"Knotweed is a favorite, bittersweet, buckhorn, they eat poison ivy, anything with thorns" says Heather Lombard the owner of Scapegoats in Kennebunk.
Lombard, who doesn't have children calls her goats her kids and says she rents them out to help clear invasive plants.
"They're basically an environmentally friendly way to reclaim our natural habitats and ecosystems because invasive plants tend to choke out everything is native."
The goats are a big hit with residents who love to come out and see the goats in their temporary habitat.
"People like the interact with the goats because really friendly and they work for peanuts Lombard chuckled.
The goats also work really fast.
"They'll probably clear this out in a few days, they tend to eat the knotwood down to the ground."
Goats are the first step to success, he second will be covering the area in landscape fabric to smother the knotweed and eventually make way for native plants and a revitalized city park.
Dillon says "the city is in the process of transitioning it from being overgrown with invasive plants now to a more accessible area for the public."
Dillon said the goats also serve as a demonstration for what they public can do to comply with the city's pesticide use ordinance.