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FRANKLIN - Thanks to the Fund for Lake Michigan, and a herd of goats, part of the Root River Corridor is getting restored.

The Fund for Lake Michigan recently granted $22,235 to the Hunger Task Force Farm in Franklin, 9000 S. 68th St., investing in the Root River Floodplain Restoration Project.

The restoration, which the farm has been actively working on since 2012, is mostly focused on removing invasive species from the area, a job that the goats are perfect for.

Great grazers

Goats are just "one of the several tools" the farm uses to clean up the 75-acre area, Hunger Task Force Farm Director Matt King said.

"They're great workers," King added with a chuckle.

Specifically, the herd is a part of a prescribed grazing technique, where they will eat pesky plants such as honeysuckle, buckthorn, and garlic mustard.

"This is actually fairly common practice in land management now, to use goats to effectively mow down and control invasive populations," King explained.

In addition to the goats, and human volunteers who help remove the weeds, the project includes planting native species in place of the plants that were removed.

The grant funding specifically goes toward purchasing seed for planting, buying necessary tools to restore the land, and staffing a natural areas manager, who performs most of the restoration work.

Farm help

Out of the 208 acres of the Hunger Task Force Farm, almost a third falls within the Root River Corridor, and King says that being good stewards of the land is important to them.

"The Hunger Task Force manages the farm to be able to have a reliable source of fresh produce for emergency food pantries in southeastern Wisconsin, including Franklin," King said. "And so as a part of the stewardship of the farm, the management of the natural resources is a paramount consideration. The stewardship ... management of The Farm can't be performed without consideration for the overall land management strategy and environmental considerations."

"We wouldn't be able to advance the restoration efforts at the farm and along the Root River Corridor without the support of the Fund for Lake Michigan," King added.

This is the second year in a row that the Hunger Task Force Farm has received funding from the Fund for Lake Michigan for its restoration efforts.

The Fund for Lake Michigan funded 20 projects this year, for a total of $1.28 million, to help build and educate Wisconsin’s workforce, support diverse communities, and strengthen economies throughout the state while improving Lake Michigan water quality.

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