An Alternative Approach for Controlling Invasive Species: The Way to Goat

Photo by Tom Omorean

Photo by Tom Omorean

Written by: Kestrel Wraggett, Stewardship Technician, Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System

On June 23rd, 2015 the first Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System Watershed Stewardship Award was presented to Wayne Terryberry and Dr. Manon Tougas for stewardship efforts to control invasive species on their property using domestic goats.

Wayne and Manon were recognized for implementing this innovative approach to invasive species control in Dundas. When they discovered dense populations of Japanese Knotweed and European Buckthorn on their new property, they purchased four goats instead of spraying with herbicides. The grazing goats suppressed the populations of both species within a short period of time.

Goats are an effective solution because they defoliate the plants (eat the leaves and seeds), and then the seeds are destroyed in their digestive tracts. This allows their droppings to fertilize the ground as they graze, thus preventing the spread of unwanted seed. Wayne and Manon’s four goats soon turned into fifteen goats and are now valued members of their family.

An invasive species is a non-native species that grows and spreads quickly when introduced into a new environment due to a lack of predators and environmental constraints. Invasive species tend to displace native species resulting in negative impacts to the entire ecosystem. Tackling the ever-increasing amounts of invasive species is a concern throughout the entire Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System.

Both European Buckthorn and Japanese Knotweed were introduced to North America from Eurasia in the 1800s as ornamental plants. Once either of these species is established, they aggressively colonize an area and are difficult to control and eradicate.

The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System is a partnership of ten local government and non-profit agencies to protect, connect and restore natural lands and open space between the Niagara Escarpment, Cootes Paradise and Hamilton Harbour at the western end of Lake Ontario. The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System partners are excited to be recognizing the positive impacts that landowners and community members can have in this unique, biologically rich ecosystem.

For more details on this award or advice on how to manage invasive species on your property, please contact:

Kestrel Wraggett, Stewardship Technician, Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System

kwraggett@hrca.on.ca

905-336-1158 ext. 2285

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1 Comment

Filed under Focus on Conservation

One response to “An Alternative Approach for Controlling Invasive Species: The Way to Goat

  1. Awesome – what a creative approach!

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