Hundreds of goats are being put on the payroll in Grande Prairie, Alta., to help control noxious weeds.

A herd of 600 is being brought to the city to work as living lawn mowers.

Jim Donnelly of the city's parks department said goats can reach spots weed whackers and lawnmowers can't.

"They're able to get down these areas where I wouldn't feel comfortable having my seasonal staff standing at a 45-degree slope with a weed whacker above rushing water," he said.

"They're sure-footed. They get down there, they take the seed heads off and they move on. It's been quite impressive so far."   

The goats are working near a path popular with pedestrians and cyclists. 

Donnelly said there haven't been any problems between goats and people.

"I haven't seen anyone not stop and pet the goats," he said.

"They're well managed by the contractor. There's two people on horseback and six dogs that work the herd and they move it along by vocal commands and they get it down to the water's edge."

Noxious weeds have to be controlled under Alberta provincial law. They are defined as aggressive, difficult to manage, and invasive plant species.

The goats are part of a test project. Donnelly said the city would consult Grand Prairie residents before using the goats full time.

Grande Prairie is approximately 390 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.