Goatscaping helping to clear path for The Riverline project

Riverline still looking for additional funding for design of 1.5 mile nature trail

Mike Baggerman
July 10, 2020 - 1:40 pm
Goatscaping from "Let's Goat Buffalo" clears vegetation behind Silo City. July 10, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Goatscaping from "Let's Goat Buffalo" clears vegetation behind Silo City. July 10, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – The Western New York Land Conservancy is inching closer towards finalizing its Riverline project along the former DL&W Corridor in Buffalo.

The Riverline will be a 1.5 mile nature trail will encompass elements of the former rail corridor but also serve as a gateway to Downtown Buffalo. The project was recently named as one of the latest members of the High Line Network, an organization that emphasize infrastructure reuse to develop walkable trails.

The Riverline’s pilot project involves the use of goats to landscape property, or “goatscaping”, around Silo City. These goats will slow the regrowth cycles of invasive plants and their droppings will add nutrients to the soil.

“These goats are not only adorable, they’re also important,” Nancy Smith, Executive Director of the WNY Land Conservancy, said. “They’re tipping the balance towards a more diverse ecosystem. The result will be beauty and color in the landscape, new homes for the butterflies, improved water quality, and a strong web of life.”

Smith hopes the goatscaping project at Silo City will help the conservancy learn about the feasibility in a landscape such as the Riverline.

The Riverline is still looking for funding to help with concept and schematic designs of the project. They lost some funding options due to the coronavirus pandemic and anticipate approximately $200,000 is needed for the designs. This is a process that will likely take a year to go through.

“I believe strongly that the federal government will be a major partner in making this a reality and making it tangible,” Congressman Brian Higgins said.

Smith also anticipates funding from the New York State Parks.

Jennifer Zeitler, Director of “Let’s Goat Buffalo”, said six goats are being used at Silo City to cut through the vegetation.

“It’s a land-management effort,” Zeitler said. “The goats are brought in to do what they do best naturally…We don’t talk about eradicating evasive because that’s not necessarily always the goal or possible. What we try to do is have the goats naturally take the evasive species down so that native plants can compete.”

It will take about two weeks for the goats to eat through the quarter acre adjacent to Rigidized Metals on Ohio Street. They should finish by the middle of next week.

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