Goats return to Calgary to graze on weeds, help with naturalization of an area in McHugh Bluff
Transforming an area of the Bluff to one that reflects the naturally-occurring landscape of the region
Working in unison with a naturalization project on Memorial Drive, a herd of 133 goats will provide chemical-free weed control in McHugh Bluff Park. The goats will graze the entirety of the park, supporting the naturalization that will take place in one section of the Bluff.
Monitored and managed by a team of shepherds along with trained dogs and horses, the goats will be onsite from July 29th to August 16th. The goats are mainly purebred Spanish - Cashmere breed with a few Lamanchas and Alpine-Nubian crosses.
Weed control isn’t the only benefit these working goats bring. Their droppings also fertilize the soil and their hooves work the earth helping to till, aerate and condition the ground, which will help to prepare for the seeding of native plants in the area of the Bluff that The City will be naturalizing.
“Weed control and removal is an important stage of the naturalization process, and targeted grazing provides an environmentally friendly alternative to more traditional maintenance options,” says Chris Manderson, Urban Conservation Lead, Calgary Parks. “This is the third year that we’ve used goats to help with this process in Calgary’s spaces, and so far, we’ve found them to be very effective.”
Area residents are invited to participate in an event on Tuesday, July 31st from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at McHugh Bluff (easiest point of entry is at 200 Memorial Drive NW) to learn about how naturalization and targeted grazing initiatives are working together at this location.
The City is naturalizing this area as part of the Council-approved Biodiversity Strategic Plan which aims to restore 20 per cent of Calgary's open space by 2025.
For more information on naturalization projects and how they benefit our urban environment, visit Calgary.ca/naturalization.
For more information on how goat herds help the naturalization process, visit Calgary.ca/goats.