Golden Valley Council Approves Goat Grazing, Tables Beekeeping
The Golden Valley City Council held off on approving an urban beekeeping ordinance this week. But the council moved ahead with an ordinance that allows for temporary goat grazing.
Goats eat invasive plants and shrubs like buckthorn.
Through the new ordinance, property owners in Golden Valley can apply for a permit to temporarily have goats graze on their property to clear away buckthorn and other noxious weeds.
“This is not a great fit for every scenario,” said Drew Chirpich, Golden Valley water and natural resource specialist. “This really would come into play if you have an area that’s completely overrun with buckthorn or another invasive species. Because these goats are incredibly indiscriminate … and they will eat anything. So if there are good things that you are wanting to protect, this is probably not the protocol for that. But if you’re anticipating sending a wave of goats through to clear things out and prepare for restoration, that’s more the practical application for this.”
Beekeeping Ordinance Tabled
Meanwhile, the council opposed an ordinance that would allow for urban beekeeping at homes in Golden Valley.
According to city staff members, several residents have expressed an interest in beekeeping.
Council members were concerned that domesticated bees might harm native pollinators. That is, they said they were worried that domestic bees might consume food sources that are traditionally consumed by native pollinators.
“My fear [is] if allowing honey bees would crowd out [native pollinators], would be a battle between domesticated and native species” said Golden Valley City Council Member Maurice Harris. “And the science is inconclusive.”
The council decided to table the issue for a likely period of one to two years, or until there is a larger body of research on the effect of domesticated bees on native species.