The City of Fernie is piloting the use of noxious and invasive weed-eating goats to address sensitive areas in the community.
Through the Invasive Plant Management Plan, the City of Fernie will be using the goats on City-owned land between August 20th and 27th.
“This plan is unique to Fernie’s environmental, economic, and social values,” Mayor Ange Qualizza told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “We heard loud and clear from the community that for these sensitive areas, they really want to see us being creative, so we’ve got the goats in the Railway Dog Park this week.”
The goats will be accompanied by a shepherd that will guide the goats to the sensitive areas that need grazing, placing them inside a portable pen while they graze.
While the goats are grazing, the Railway Dog Park will remain open to the public.
Under the Weed Control Act from the B.C. Government, the municipality is responsible to prevent and treat noxious and invasive weeds that abide within City limits.
“It’s a requirement for us to treat these noxious weeds and we know through the success of other communities that targeted grazing helps encourage biodiversity and the growth of native vegetation, and that really enhances sensitive areas,” added Qualizza.
The aim is that by utilizing the goats, the City of Fernie will have healthier parks and public spaces around the community, ensuring that those spaces are safe and sustainable for long-term use, while also protecting any significant investments made by the municipality.
“We’re not the first municipality to use them,” said Qualizza. “We’ve seen a lot of case studies where there’s some great success.”
If the pilot project is deemed a success, the City of Fernie may work with the contractor again to use the goats in other sensitive areas around the community to target weeds and invasive plant growth, providing an environmentally friendly option for the community.