Goats return to Calgary parks to deal with invasive weeds
Published Tuesday, July 14, 2020 12:44PM MDT Last Updated Tuesday, July 14, 2020 9:32PM MDT
A herd of goats will once again be used to deal with noxious weeds at an inner-city park. (File photo)
CALGARY -- The City of Calgary has rehired a herd of goats to eat invasive weeds in the inner-city this summer.
It’s called targeted grazing and was first introduced in Calgary in 2016 as a pilot project in Confluence Park.
Targeted grazing helps the city reduce the amount of chemicals it needs to fight invasive weeds.
The success of the pilot forced city administrators to change bylaws to allow working livestock in parks.
“There are so many positives to using the goats and other livestock as well," said shepherd Cailey Chase. "First of all, it raises people spirits and in these times a heart-centered business and a heart-centered activity is really important for people."
For the third year, about 200 goats will be munching their way through weeds at McHugh Bluff, alongside Memorial Drive, from July 13 to 23 as part of a naturalization program.
In addition to eliminating the weeds, the goats help fertilize the ground through their droppings. Their hooves till the earth, aerating and conditioning it, which supports habitat restoration work happening in the area.
“The animals are here to help us, and people instinctively know that,” said Chase.
The city asks Calgarians to keep a respectful distance to allow the shepherd and the animals space to do their job safely.