The City of Calgary is launching a pilot project that will study the use of goats for targeted weed control.

Beginning this spring, a herd of goats managed by a professional shepherd and highly trained herding dogs will be dispatched to two Calgary parks to help control weeds, including Canada thistle.

Calgary Parks spokesman Chris Manderson says targeted grazing for weeds is environmentally friendly and sustainable, and evidence from other cities that have tried similar projects suggests it can be cost-effective.

"We're especially interested in seeing if we can use grazing in areas that may be unsafe for work crews and equipment, such as steep slopes and nearby water bodies where we avoid the use of chemical herbicides," he said in a release.

The goats will be placed in Confluence Park, west of Nose Creek, and possibly at a second location nearby, just as the Canada thistle starts to flower in late May or early June. 

With files from CBC News