It started out like any other normal highway bypass project. But highway officials in the state of Maryland made a wonderful discovery when they looked closely at the surrounding brush-covered and muddy eight acre. They found endangered bog turtles living in the hidden away in the mud.
These turtles only live in certain wetland areas in 12 states, and like so many creatures, are fighting for survival. Loss of habitat is one of their biggest threats. (Sadly and tragically another cause is the booming illegal pet trade the Discovery News report also explains.) Thankfully, instead of the common procedure of bringing in a bunch of heavy machinery and herbicides to clear the land, a low impact, environmentally sensitive solution was found.
Goats. A farmer’s goats, and also hair sheep, now graze on this land from May to September. This naturally controls the natural vegetation while giving the farmer’s pastures a chance to grow from the goat break.
This natural brush control is a way to maintain and restore the bog turtle’s habitat. Apparently without such trimming of the woody and invasive plants, or should I say grazing, the surrounding trees and foliage would reclaim the open space by continuing to encroach on this turtle habitat.
How wonderful that officials have now set aside this newly discovered wetland that surrounds the highway bypass. It’s ironic that a bypass construction ended up bypassing environmental harm in favour of environmental preservation. Happy everyone.