Goats being used by Ameren Illinois to clear dense vegetation

As part of its pilot program, the utility is employing the help of 50 goats to eat their way clear along a steep and rocky area in Hillview, Ill.

Ameren Illinois

Ameren Illinois is experimenting with an environmental-friendly way to get rid of invasive vegetation in difficult-to-reach rights-of-way across its service territory — goats.

Fifty goats will be used to clear land along the steep and rocky plot of land in Hillview, Ill.

Tree trimmers with chainsaws may also be called in to clear the area.

The job of the 50 goats is to feast on a high-protein diet of honey suckle, poison ivy, and other dense-like brush. The goats, which were supplied by Litchfield-based Goats on the Go, can remove approximately an acre's worth of vegetation in a week.

Once the area is consumed by the goats, Ameren said it will be easier for linemen to have clear line of sight of power lines and poles. It will also make for easier routine inspections, maintenance, and accessibility during a power outage.

"When I was first approached about the idea of using goats to clear the underbrush, I was skeptical," said Raymond Riddle, Director of Construction Services, Ameren Illinois. "But it is amazing how quickly and effectively they can do the job in those hard-to-reach areas. Ultimately, this is about making it easier and safer for our crews to get access to our equipment to do their work. We'll assess the results and look at using goats for vegetation management in 2020 and beyond."

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