HILLVIEW, Ill. (WAND) – Goats are removing vegetation in some difficult-to-reach areas for Ameren Illinois.

Ameren is using 50 goats along a steep and rocky plot of land in Greene County. The area is covered with dense vegetation that needs to be removed so linemen can clear line of sight to the power lines and poles.

The line of sight needs to be cleared for routine inspections, maintenance and accessibility during power outages.

According to the company, tree trimmers and chainsaws could be brought in. However, much of the terrain is in a ravine.

They decided that goats were the most sure-footed crew to help remove the vegetation. Now the goats will dine on a high-protein diet of honey suckle and other dense like brush. It’s expected that the goats will remove an acre’s worth of vegetation in a week.

"When I was first approached about the idea of using goats to clear the underbrush, I was skeptical," said Raymond Riddle, Director of Construction Services, Ameren Illinois. "But it is amazing how quickly and effectively they can do the job in those hard-to-reach areas. Ultimately, this is about making it easier and safer for our crews to get access to our equipment to do their work. We'll assess the results and look at using goats for vegetation management in 2020 and beyond."

Ameren said they are hoping to expand the program into more remote areas in the future.

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