Overgrazing by feral goats is one of the most serious threats to terrestrial ecosystems within Washington Slagbaai Park. Goat grazing causes phase shifts from diverse vegetation which includes native trees, shrubs, orchids and bromeliads to less diverse vegetation predominately made of cactus and acacia thorn scrub.
Overgrazing increases erosion and runoff, which delivers greater amounts of sediments and nutrients to the marine park. This contributes to reduced water quality and threatens the health of the coral reefs. As the management of both parks falls to STINAPA Bonaire, eradicating invasive grazers takes high priority as it will improve the quality of resources in both parks.
The eradication of goats in Washington Slagbaai Park is part of a broader effort to conserve biodiversity on Bonaire. To achieve these goals the island government is implementing several policies and projects:
(1) sustainable goat farming to ensure that goats are no longer free roaming but are kept on the kunuku;
(2) reforestation, in which ecological sensitive areas are fenced to minimize grazing by invasive species;
(3) watershed management to avoid sedimentation of reefs and wetlands.