For a second year in a row, a most effective weapon is being deployed in the ongoing battle against invasive plants.
The goats of Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control out in Kamloops are returning to the Cranbrook-Kimberley area, in particular designated Aq’am (St. Mary’s Band) lands to help restore grasslands by grazing on invasive sulphur cinquefoil and knapweed.
Conrad and Donna Lindblom, who run Rocky Ridge and its herd of goats, are just finishing up a pilot project with the City of Chilliwack, in which 30 goats were loosed to chow down on Japanese Knotweed, a hideously invasive plant that’s almost impossible to get rid of once it takes hold.
“That was the first time my goats have ever been into a patch of Japanese knotweed,” Conrad Lindblom said. “And they did a very good job of it.
“It will take more than one year [to get rid of it entirely]. From what I’ve I’ve read from other countries, it will take about three years of really good grazing to get rid of it.”
The Lindbloms will be bringing a herd of about 350 goats to the East Kootenay, to cover the same area as last year, plus a little extra.
Lindblom said last year’s contract was a very successful outing. “But again, there’s still a lot of seed in the ground, so we’re going to have to do some maintenance on it. You can’t get it all in just one year.”
Once the area has been grazed for two or three years, 95 per cent of the invasives are history.
Sulphur Cinquefoil is an introduced species that originates from the Eastern Mediterranean. The goats only target the invasives, leaving the native plants to thrive.
The Lindbloms lead the goats along with saddle horses and dogs, but once they have the grazing pattern established after two or three days, the goats remember where to go. This is a technique the Lindbloms have developed over 17 years in the business.
And while the goats only eat invasive species in the grasslands, it is not all they eat. They will graze for about five or six hours a day on the invasive diet, then the Lindbloms will bring them in and allow them to eat other things to keep their diet mixed.
Conrad Lidblom said Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control is open for more contracts in the Cranbrook-Kimberley area. “We’ve been very successful here in Kamloops.” Anyone interested can call 780-380-3061.