Edmonton’s weed-eating goat pilot project wraps up after 3 years

After three years, a group of goats used to manage weeds at a north Edmonton park is saying farewell.

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Next week marks the end of the three-year GoatWorks pilot project at Rundle Park. Introduced in 2017, the program used goats as an environmentally conscious method of weed control in natural areas and parks.

READ MORE: Weed-eating goats have arrived at Edmonton’s Rundle Park

With the goats’ job coming to an end, work will now begin to research how effective the program has been for noxious weed control.

“Once the goats leave Rundle Park next week, our partners from Olds College will finish their research on which species of noxious weeds are growing in Rundle Park,” said Joy Lakhan, the City of Edmonton’s GoatWorks project coordinator.

“They will also look at how the species have changed over three years, and how effective the goats have been at controlling those species.”

The city said the results of the research will be available next year. Council will take a look at the results to determine the future of the program.

Watch below: It’s a job that attracted about 240 applicants and the competition to land the highly-coveted role was fierce. In the City of Edmonton there can only be one goatmaster.

The animals have particularly targeted leafy spurge, Canadian thistle, burdock and toadflax. If left to grow wild, Lakhan said the Canadian thistle would grow to be about four-feet tall and flower by the end of the summer.

“People are excited about the goats being here in Edmonton,” Lakhan said. “I think it’s really something for Edmontonians to celebrate.”

READ MORE: Meet Edmonton’s weed-eating goats at Rundle Park

This program was introduced in response to city council’s ban on cosmetic herbicides, with some exemptions, on city-owned land in 2015.