Goats helping control invasive plants in Lois Creek Trails

Friends of Lois Creek is inviting everyone to come out Sunday July 11 for a kid-friendly event helping a herd of goats control a patch invasive Spotted Knapweed threatening the ecology of the entire Lois Creek trail system.

Everyone is invited to come out July 11 to help pull Spotted Knapweed, a highly invasive plant threatening the Lois Creek trail system.

The hungry goats will be in Lois Creek from 10 am to 3 pm helping control the knapweed plants and preventing the spread of seeds further into the trail system. Cailey Chase of Vahana Nature Rehabilitation, which specializes in target-grazing with goats, uses an electric fence to focus the goats on specific areas such as the problem knapweed patch located near the west end of Powerline Trail just above Florence’s Gully.

“The goats reduce the ability of the plants to photosynthesize and that stresses them, decreasing their competitive advantage,” explains Chase. “Hand-pulling is very effective when paired with target-grazing.”

Wildsight Kimberley and the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council will also have information kiosks offering helpful hand-pulling tips and techniques for controlling invasive species.

New signage encouraging trail users to hand pull invasive plants will be placed on the Powerline Trail, site of the largest infestation of Spotted Knapweed.

The goat-grazing event in July marks the fourth time Friends of Lois Creek and Vahana have used goats in a targeted program to control invasive weeds in the Lois Creek trail system. Designed in collaboration with Mainstreams, an environmental organization, the program is intended to educate more people about invasive plants and to help make controlling invasive plants common practice with trail users. This year it is being expanded to include increased signage, more education about appropriate hand-pulling, and installation of a compost bin on Powerline Trail in which to deposit the plants pulled by trail users.