Sheep will be grazing the county landfill in Bath
A 10-year old contract continuing the practice of introducing sheep to graze the inactive portions of the county landfill located on Turnpike Road in the Town of Bath was renewed this week by the Steuben County Public Works Committee.
Since 2012, the unusual program has been widely reported by local media, cited by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, reported by The Associated Press, NBC-TV, and National Public Radio, and remains a fixture at the landfill.
While the project raises a smile, the use of sheep at the landfill has been recognized as having a serious purpose.
The DEC noted the innovative program in its “Conservation Grazing for Land Stewardship” article as an effective way “to prevent growth of brush and trees with deeper roots,” which could damage capped landfills.
With the exception of a huge tub of water located under a shade tree, the herd requires little maintenance, and no shelter during the May-October season at the landfill. The owners attend to the animals’ medical needs and retrieve the herd for the winter season.
The plan also saves Steuben money, with fencing paid by a grant from the Susquehanna River Coalition, and roughly $5,000 annually in lawn-mowing costs.