By Corey Bullock
If you’ve taken a walk through Lois Creek trails this week, you might have stumbled across Cailey Chase and her weed-eating friends.
Chase owns Vahana Nature Rehabilitation and has been using target goat grazing for invasive plant control for many years now. This week she was contracted to target Knapweed, Blueweed, and Yellow Hawkweed in the Lois Creek trail system.
The goats have been working up the Wax Tester trail, and up past the power line, however they will soon be moved to Calgary for another project.
The grazing in Lois Creek is funded by the Columbia Basin Trust and organized by Mainstreams, Vahana Nature Rehabilitation, and Friends of Lois Creek.
Chase has over 70 goats, and knows a thing or two about invasive plant control. She has an extensive amount of experience in hand-pulling and spraying, however, she says goats require less human labour.
“Although it is labour intensive to move the herd from camp to camp, the goats add to the soil through a natural process which is another advantage,” said Chase. “Also, compared to hand pulling and cutting, it is way easier for the goats to get rid of biomass.”
With Knotweed specifically, the goats strip the buds and leaves off making the plant go into ‘emergency mode’. This triggers the weeds to make double the amount of flowers, draining the roots of winter stores and causing them to die come winter time.
If you missed the chance to see Chase and the goats this week, don’t fret, because they will be back in Lois Creek in August.