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Pilot weed control using goats

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For three weeks in the summer of 2016, Calgary Parks used goats to control weeds in a portion of West Nose Creek/Confluence Park. Approximately 100 goats ate invasive weeds, including Canada thistle, and in doing this, helped encourage biodiversity, the growth of native vegetation and enhanced the health of this natural area. The City will be continuing this pilot program in Confluence Park during the summer of 2017. This pilot is part of an integrated approach to managing invasive species.

The goats will be monitored and managed 24 hours a day by a professional shepherd, herding dogs and horses.

The focus of this pilot is to determine if goat grazing is a viable land management tool for managing invasive weed species in City parks, and it is important that Calgary Parks comply with The City of Calgary Land Use Bylaw and The Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw. We are able to use goats in this pilot because of a specific land use designation that permits livestock grazing in this park.

Have questions? Check out ourFrequently Asked Questions fact sheet.

Why we used targeted grazing

Targeted grazing has proven to be an effective land management tool in other municipalities. It is cost effective, and offers numerous benefits, including:

  • an environmentally friendly and effective method to manage invasive plant species; and
  • a feasible solution for controlling weeds near water bodies and on slopes.

Next steps

We will continue to asses data from this pilot to determine the project’s effectiveness. If successful, the initiative may be expanded to other natural areas in the city.