WHAT: The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC), in collaboration with Duquesne Light, will use an environmentally friendly and four-legged form of invasive weed control: goats. On September 8, goats from Steel City Grazers will eat the invasive knotweed that has overtaken a hillside within the Bates Street Corridor, from Boulevard of the Allies to Second Avenue.

Since 2011, the Conservancy has worked on improvements to this Oakland corridor, including removing hazardous and invasive vegetation on both sides of the road. Over a series of seasons and with significant help from community and student volunteers, 84 native trees and hundreds of shrubs and ferns have been planted.

To continue and sustain these improvements, WPC will use goats to naturally clean approximately one-fourth of an acre of the property that is blighted by a high density of knotweed.

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 2:00 p.m.
The goats will remain at the Bates St. location for three to seven days.

WHERE: The goats will graze along the hill at the west side of Bates Street, near the LAMAR billboard. Once the goats are settled, media will be allowed to enter the grazing area to see the goats and talk to WPC staff. Otherwise, the goats will be visible within their fence from the sidewalk for three to seven days.

The Bates Street Corridor begins at Boulevard of the Allies and extends to Second Avenue.

WHO: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy staff
Steel City Grazers
Duquesne Light Company
Oakland Planning and Development

WHY: The Bates Street Corridor from Boulevard of the Allies to Second Avenue is a crucial link between two vibrant and important sections of the City of Pittsburgh—Oakland’s university and hospital complexes and the South Side’s major corporate and technological sites. The junction of Bates Street and the Boulevard of the Allies is viewed more than 98,000 people per day, according to PennDOT, and the corner of Bates and Second Avenue is viewed by about 50,000 people per day. In 2010, a local citizen brought Bates St. to the attention of WPC, noting the corridor as a significant location for community environmental improvements.

Since then, funding from a private donor, UPMC and University of Pittsburgh has allowed WPC to perform a series of improvements along the corridor – but there is still work to be done. Knotweed, an invasive plant, has overrun the Bates Street corridor, choking out other native plants.

WPC has contracted Steel City Grazers to provide a herd of goats that will eat unwanted plants as a method for vegetation management. This lessens the need for herbicides and subsequent weed removal, provides natural fertilizer and leaves targeted plants unable to photosynthesize or regrow. To keep out predators, the goats will be contained within a solar-powered electric fence and accompanied by their guardian donkey, Hobo. The goats will also be provided with temporary shelter.

Once the goats have cleared the area, the Conservancy plans to plant additional native vegetation to help compete with any remaining knotweed this fall.

This project was completed with permission from Duquesne Light Company, which owns this portion of the Bates Street corridor, and in partnership with Oakland Planning and Development.


About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than 252,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 130 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of about 12,500 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of nearly 10,000 members. For more information, visit


Kristen Blevins
Communications Specialist