Cows move in to help manage Delaware park

A pair of Belted Galloway cows will soon move into Brandywine Creek State Park as part of an effort to reduce the number of invasive plants.

The cows will call a five-acre area of the park’s Freshwater Marsh Nature Preserve home for seven or eight weeks this summer.  The Galloway’s are expected to eliminate some invasive plants by eating them, or crushing them under their 1,200 pounds.

“The Belted Galloways are an ancient Scottish breed used to eating coarse grasses, which is why they will work so well on a site like this,” said Rob Line, Environmental Stewardship program manager, with the Division of Parks and Recreation.  “This is new for Delaware, but not new for marsh restoration projects throughout the Northeast.”

The cows are being loaned by Belted Galloway Cows of Centreville.  The effort to reduce invasive plants is part of a partnership between Delaware State Parks, and both the state and federal Divisions of Fish and Wildlife.  The federal government will pay the $23,500 cost to build a fence to keep the cows contained to their section of the preserve.  Scientists with the state’s Natural Heritage Program will monitor changes in vegitation at the site.  

The cows will arrive once the fence is in place, which should happen later this month.

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