Calgary

Calgary looks at expanding weed-whacking goats program

Goats just might be popping up in more Calgary parks and natural areas on weed control duty soon as city council will be asked next month to expand where the goats can graze.

Current inventory of 100 goats may not be enough

Success of goats as weed control is being looked at for an expansion in Calgary. (CBC)

Goats just might be popping up in more Calgary parks and natural areas on weed control duty soon as city council will be asked next month to expand where the goats can graze.

Goats were successfully used for weed control in Confluence Park last year so they've returned this summer and now the parks department wants to try them elsewhere in the city.

Planning commission has approved an application for goats to roam a little further and next month, city council will be asked to amend its land use bylaw to make that legal.

Goats are better than spraying chemicals for persistent problem areas for weeds, especially near waterway, says Chris Manderson with the parks department.

He says it could mean more goats are needed than the 100 who munched on invasive weeds in Confluence Park last summer.

"Possibly more. We're focussed this year just on phase two of the Confluence grazing and that's going to start I believe in July because we do have permission to do it there. We'll see how that goes. If we can do more, if we can fit more in this year, absolutely we will," Manderson said.

Good in tight spaces

He says the goats can be highly effective in specific places.

"We would be focussing primarily on natural areas. We'd also be looking at areas that are difficult to access, near water bodies where you don't want to spray, so things like that. Steep slopes, places where we've got some persistent weed problems."

Manderson says other problem areas for weeds include Ralph Klein Park in the southeast and Nose Hill Park in the northwest.

With files from Scott Dippel