CATSKILLS – Is the New York City Department of Environmental Protection still using gasoline-powered machines to mow the fields near its reservoirs in Ulster and Sullivan counties? Naaaah!
For the second year, the agency is employing a herd of sheep to graze, “mowing” the grasses. The herd of 28 animals last week began gobbling grass alongside Merriman Dam at Rondout Reservoir in Ulster County after they finished grazing a 50-acre field downstream of Neversink Dam in Sullivan County.
The sheep will be used to maintain tall grass along fence lines and other hard-to-reach areas near the dam and its spillway.
They are also a bit quieter than lawn mowers
The pilot program, which is consistent with New York City’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut its use of fossil fuels, began last year and will continue through October.
Long Eddy sheep farmer Travis O’Dell is providing the four-legged lawn mowers to the DEP.
A few years ago, Poughkeepsie began a similar environmentally friendly approach to clearing vegetation, using goats around the approach to the Walkway Over the Hudson.