Staten Island’s Freshkills Park, a former landfill that’s being transformed into a public parkland and “laboratory for green practices,” is engaging in job creation — for goats. Twenty Anglo-Nubian goats are nibbling away at invasive weeds called phragmites, as one step of the wetlands restoration process that will turn Freshkills less killy and more fresh. And what are the goats getting for the privilege of eating tasty weeds, which they would probably do anyway? Oh, only $3,437.50 a week, which would work out to $178,750 a year.
Of course, that’s the price for 20 goats, and they’re only working for six weeks. But still, I bet you do as much work as 20 goats! Personally, I know I’m a better editor than 20 goats, and probably a better writer too, although some might argue. And yet, I’m only getting paid as much as … well it’s none of your business how many goats I’m getting paid as much as (I stopped doing the calculation because it was depressing). The point is, goats make more than me, and goats probably make more than you.
Then again, neither of us is eating weeds at a landfill. But the goats may not even be doing such a great job of that:
While goats have been deployed for phragmite duty elsewhere, some ecologists are skeptical.
“I’m not a big fan of goats,” said Bernd Blossey, an associate professor of natural resources at Cornell University. “I understand why people are desperate to try them. But they will eat the leaves but not the stems, and they also don’t like getting their hooves wet.”
Blossey’s big idea for phragmite reduction is caterpillars. I shudder to think how much money THEY’LL make.
To Tackle an Invasive Weed, Bringing In the Hooved Pros, New York Times.