(Black Press file photo).

Weed-chomping goats are returning to Red Deer this weekend

Piper Creek gardens will be full of grazing goats on Sunday

The goats are coming ba-a-a-a-a-ack to Red Deer.

City residents are invited to meet the assortment of goats that will be unloaded from a transport truck at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29, at Piper Creek Gardens, just south of the landfill.

The goats’ aim is to eat as many weeds as possible in that ecologically sensitive area.

A herder from BAAH’D Plant Management & Reclamation will be on site to answer questions about the goats and their work, as will City of Red Deer staff. And children are welcome to pet the goats.

“The goats are weed eating machines,” said Ken Lehman, Ecological Services operations co-ordinator for the city. “They are trained to eat the target weed species and, with the aid of herders and working dogs, leave other native vegetation alone.

“Using the goats to manage weeds helps us achieve our goal, set out in the Environmental Master Plan, to reduce the amount of pesticides used to manage our landscapes,” he added.

The goats will be on site for less than 24 hours browsing their way across the one-acre parcel.

They are ideal for weed-control in the Piper Creek area because of the ecologically sensitive and challenging terrain. There are areas people and machines can’t safely reach; however, the goats can climb the steep slopes and cross unstable ground.

This is the final year of a three-year pilot project using the goats at Piper Creek Gardens. City staff have already reported a reduction of Canada thistle in the area. This allows room for other native grasses and plants to thrive.

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