SUMMIT COUNTY – Drought conditions have delayed the second annual appearance of the weed-eating goats, but they haven’t deterred the weeds themselves.”Weeds are pretty much still flourishing,” said Paul Schreiner, the county’s weed control coordinator. “The drought really knocked our native plants back, but most of the weeds we have up in the county are really drought-tolerant.”A lot of these weeds came from Eurasia, and those are really, really droughty areas. So these noxious weed species really do thrive, while our native species aren’t able to grow very well. At the same time, we’re not getting the native plant competition we would normally get.”Schreiner, working with the Dillon Reservoir Recreation Area, has planned a volunteer weed-pulling effort for this morning. Volunteers are asked to meet at Dillon Marina Park, and will be instructed on how to identify chamomile before pulling them for two to three hours.”We’re going to be pulling chamomile almost exclusively in the area of the amphitheater and marina park, stretching down toward the marina and northwest along the bike path,” Schreiner said. “That’s a really good location for having a weed pull because we have plenty that are susceptible to pulling.”We’re going to quit at three hours. Anyone who’s pulled those puppies more than three hours knows (it) is pretty demanding labor.”While the weed-eating goats require far less labor from humans, Schreiner said their job this year is only to target Canada thistle. About 500 of the animals will descend on weeds along Lake Dillon’s shores. While they were originally slated to arrive in mid-July, they’re now expected about Aug. 1.”Because of our drought, the Canada thistle just isn’t at the bud stage,” Schreiner said. “And without that Canada thistle in that bud stage, the grazing is not as effective. We decided to put it off for two weeks to make sure we’re grazing at the proper growth stage.”The goats will graze for about 10 days. They are owned by Lani Lamming of Alpine, Wyo., who travels the country with her weed-consuming goats.Last summer, the goats grazed for two weeks from Giberson Bay to the Blue River inlet along Lake Dillon. They are part of a three-year program to eradicate non-native weeds along the shore of the lake.—When & WhereWhat: Weed pullWhen: Today, 9 a.m. to noonWhere: Dillon Marina
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