Goats tackle invasive weeds next to railway tracks. James Snell/The Free Press

Grazing kids tackle invasive and noxious weeds

The City of Fernie, via Kimberley area goat grazing contractor, Vahana Nature Rehabilitation, has commenced a pilot project to remove invasive and noxious weeds on City owned property near the Railway Dog Park.

In a statement, the City of Fernie said if this pilot project is successful, the City may work with the contractor to use the goats in other sensitive areas throughout the City to target weed-filled areas.

“Targeted grazing helps encourage biodiversity, the growth of native vegetation and enhanced health in sensitive areas. By utilizing goats, we hope to achieve healthier parks and public spaces,” said the City.

Vahana Nature Rehabilitation’s core value is, entirely dedicated to the environment as we are reducing chemical spraying and are bringing a holistic method of land rehabilitation.”

Company shepherd Dennis Wass, a sustainable resource management student from Memorial University, said he’s traveling throughout the Kootenays, and even to Calgary, on a mission to battle invasive plants.

“It’s a common myth that goats will eat everything,” he said. “You have to train them on specific plants, because they won’t eat anything they are not familiar with. The lead goats are the first to try something out.”

Wass said that his herd is trained to eat over a dozen invasive plant species.

“They eat blue weed, spotted knapweed, toad flax, and mullein – those are the first that come to mind,” he explained. “The goats live on a ranch just outside of Kimberly. They sleep and stay wherever they are working.”

Wass said the goats will be in Fernie for four to five days to help offset the use of herbicides.

“We’ll be doing all along the [dog] park and railway track,” he said. “The issue with herbicides is they can be fairly nondiscriminatory, and you’re adding some harmful chemicals into the environment that effect wildlife and insects in the area.”

Wass said the goats don’t kill the plant outright.

“The goats crop off the top, especially the flowering heads. Then the plant draws on root carbohydrates to survive. The goats eat the seeds, which do not pass through in a viable way. Hopefully the plants die during the winter because they have been stressed.”

In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the common herbicide, glyphosate, as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”


Just Posted

Pride Festival just around the corner

The Fernie and Elk Valley Pride Festival is just around the corner,… Continue reading

Kootenay Learning Campus opens in Fernie

School District 5 celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the… Continue reading

Diamond of the Elk Valley turns 30

Island Lake Lodge, located only 14 km from Fernie, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Kootenay-Columbia incumbent MP responds to Trudeau brownface scandal

Stetski proud of NDP leader Singh’s reaction, which focused on people not power

It’s time for change, or not, say B.C. residents

Approximately 93 per cent of B.C. residents say time’s up for bi-annual… Continue reading

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Fernie Fire Department celebrates FireSmart education

“The greatest safety is a neighbourhood that is FireSmart,” said Alan Westhaver.

Trails in Fernie’s Ridgemont area reopen

Fernie Trails Alliance urging trail users to abide by and obey closures still in place

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Most Read