Atlanta airport using sheep to control vegetation

ATLANTA — Feeling a bit sheepish?

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will use 100 sheep as part of a test grazing program.

The program, launched in conjunction with Trees Atlanta and funded by an anonymous donor, is aimed at controlling vegetation on a one-acre plot of land the airport owns along Riverdale Road.

“We are constantly thinking of innovative ways to make the Airport more efficient, and we are eager to determine whether sheep grazing will be an effective tool to maintain the Airport’s landscape,” Aviation General Manager Louis Miller said in a news release.

Officials say the sheep are an eco-friendly alternative to chemicals.

“Trees Atlanta is pleased that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is considering a vegetation-removal method that does not require pesticides or fossil fuels,” Greg Levine, co-executive director of Trees Atlanta, said in a news release.

“We applaud this forward-thinking approach from a large Atlanta entity and are happy to give the sheep a vacation from their Trees Atlanta work so they can be part of the effort,” Levine added. “The results we’ve seen from sheep grazing on acres of invasive plants in local Atlanta green spaces indicate that this pilot should be successful.”

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