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MMSD Green Luminary® Award | Kettle Moraine Grazing

12/05/22 03:00:pm

Utilizing alternative land management practices, Kettle Moraine Grazing LLC sustainably meets vegetation management goals by using goats to remove invasive species on MMSD flood management properties.

Kettle Moraine Grazing (KMG), LLC has been selected as a Green Luminary® because of the entrepreneurial spirit of its owner, Christine Bohn, and for using alternative land management practices that are environmentally friendly and based on science. KMG is unique in that Christine is a trained land steward who understands the land's ecological needs and has also learned how to manage a goat herd specifically for target grazing. Target grazing is the use of livestock to meet vegetation management goals. Target grazing monitors the timing, intensity, and duration of grazing to control invasive species. KMG provides goat grazing services, vegetation surveys, cover crop planting, and restoration planning, which correlates to MMSD’s 2035 Vision. KMG had the opportunity to work with The Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee County Parks, Fund for Lake Michigan, and MMSD in the summer of 2022 on two flood management parcels along the Milwaukee River in Glendale.  

MMSD reached out to KMG to pilot invasive removal on two flood management parcels along the Milwaukee River in Glendale. These parcels were near the Kletzsch Dam Fish Passage project and part of a larger restoration effort along the Milwaukee River.  These properties were surveyed and determined to be severely degraded with invasive species such as buckthorn, knotweed, and garlic mustard.

Bringing in the goats is one step in a multi-step process.  First, the parcels needed to be forestry mowed to remove any of the large woody invasives that the goats would not be able to reach.  Once this was done, the plots were left to regrow throughout most of the spring and summer.  By August 2022, the plots were ready to bring in the goats. The portable electric fencing was put up, and the goats were delivered.  They grazed for about eight days; the goats defoliated the invasive plants during this grazing.  This is crucial to stressing the plant’s roots and forcing them to expend more energy to resprout.  The plots were then allowed to regrow again, and a vegetation survey was completed. When regrowth was sufficient, the goats were brought back for a second graze.  Each subsequent graze weakens the invasive plants, allowing for slower-growing native plants to re-establish and flourish.

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KMG is an emerging small woman-owned business operated by Christine Bohn.  Christine is a trained land steward with extensive experience in land management and restoration.  Christine has worked with the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust since 2014. KMG was born out of Christine’s interest in using chemical alternatives in invasive management. Through her work with the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, Christine saw there was a growing interest and need for a local target grazing operation to help undertake the important work of restoring Southeastern Wisconsin’s forests and open spaces.  In 2022, Christine purchased her first herd of about 30 goats and started with several pilot projects in Milwaukee and Ozaukee County. Prior to KMG coming to fruition, there were no local target grazing companies, making the process more expensive and less viable in Southeastern Wisconsin.

What is a Green Luminary® Award?

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District gives Green Luminary® awards to businesses, organizations, and communities that implement exceptional green infrastructure design projects that benefit our lakes and rivers, as well as our communities.

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