The City of Lethbridge has enlisted the help of some unique workers this summer, as 500 goats graze the fields, getting familiar with their new diets.
“They’re down in the park targeting leafy spurge, wormwood, crested wheat grass and any other invasives that they can get a hold of,” said Jackie Cardinal, parks natural resource coordinator with the city.
“They’re really going to target the spurge and the leafier species that are not supposed to be here.”
WATCH BELOW: (Oct. 2018) Grass control pilot project brings 200 goats to Lethbridge
These hungry animals are from the Creekside Goat Company, which first lend its services to the city last October for the grass control pilot project.
Now, the city has paid for its help, and this year, instead of targeting vegetation, the goats must adjust their appetites and chomp down on invasive weeds. For these animals, that isn’t a problem.
“It has a milky substance to it so it burns the mouth for a lot of different animals… The goats, they thrive on it and they do well. It’s high in protein. They love the plant.”
Finck is supervising the six-week project with the help of his trusty sidekick Molly the Border Collie. Together, they plan to keep the goats on track and safe from predators. City officials also hope the public will do their part in making this project successful.
“Be respectful of the fences and the areas they’re working in. We’re not always going to be using fencing because there’s some areas that we can’t along the roadside,” Cardinal continued. “Just be respectful of that and don’t get too close.”
Cardinal added that bringing the goats back to do more work this summer was an easy decision as it helps maintain the integrity and vitality of ecosystems in the river bottom.
“They can get to the areas that we can’t get to with people with backpack sprayers or machinery to spray and it’s just more environmentally friendly,” said Cardinal.
This isn’t the first project of its kind. In fact, many cities across the country have called upon goats for weed and grass control for many years, and city officials are happy to adopt the same tactics.
This summer’s project is expected to run for a total of six non-consecutive weeks and wrap up in September.