CHICAGO - The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) announces that a contract for sustainable management grazing services at O’Hare International Airport has been awarded to Central Commissary Holdings, LLC, 1021 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL.
The selection comes following a Request for Quotation (RFQ) Invitation for Sustainable Vegetation Management Grazing Services that was issued on September 14, 2012. The RFQ sought at least 25 goats and/or sheep and a contractor/shepherd to participate in a vegetation management pilot program at O’Hare. Central Commissary Holdings, LLC, which cares for a small grazing herd outside the city, submitted the most competitive bid through the City’s Small Order Bid process. It is a two year contract and the maximum compensation under the contract is $100,000.
The pilot program is anticipated to begin this spring once sufficient foliage for the goats is available at the airport. Up to 120 acres of land on four sites have been identified for grazing on O’Hare property. All the sites are located in areas away from or separated from the airfield by security fencing. The sites include hilly areas along creeks or streams and roadway right-of ways that are overcrowded with dense scrub vegetation that’s difficult to maintain with traditional landscaping equipment.
The goats and herder will remain supervised on airport property during the week and housed overnight in a transport trailer nearby during evening hours.
“This initiative aligns with the CDA’s desire to implement aviation industry-leading sustainability initiatives that complement and promote the City of Chicago’s commitment to sustainability at Chicago’s airports,” said CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino. “This pilot program will help the CDA achieve many economic, operational, environmental and social benefits, achieving our goal of balancing people, planet and profit.”
The benefits of this initiative are numerous and include:
- Decrease landscape maintenance costs, including fuel, labor, herbicides, and equipment
- Eliminate mowing/landscape debris and transportation of debris to landfills
- Maintain steep embankments, ditches, rocky and wooded areas where mowing or spraying are difficult
- Reduce habitat for wildlife that may be hazardous to airport operations (e.g., birds)
- Clear poison ivy, poison oak and other noxious weeds and invasive species
- Provide an alternative to toxic herbicides, keeping beneficial soil organisms alive and preventing runoff
- Reduce the use of lawnmowers, trimmers, and weed-eaters that emit carbon dioxide and other pollutants
- Naturally recycle nutrients as fertilizer
- Reduce the use of heavy equipment, minimizing soil erosion
- Generate community interest
- Enhance environmental awareness
Goats and sheep have been utilized as a cost-effective, natural method to control vegetation and remove weeds in a variety of environments including airports.