DVBWP Prescribed Grazer Pilot Project

Have you heard the news? There will be goats grazing at Don Valley Brick Works Park (DVBWP) later this month! The City of Toronto’s Natural Environment Infrastructure Unit of Forestry is running a Prescribed Grazing Pilot Project at the site, and Toronto Field Naturalists have spent about a year now working with City of Toronto Forestry Staff in anticipation of their arrival.

This pilot engages the services of Goats in The City, a business specializing in the use of goats for targeted grazing within an urban and sub-urban context. Their specialized “eco-herd”, populated by large breeds chosen to maximize the amount of vegetation the herd can consume, will be brought to DVBWP on June 25 and 26, 2024. Public hours to view the goats at work are 10am to 8pm both days.

Last year, City of Toronto Forestry Staff requested TFN’s participation in creating and curating an inventory of flora and fauna biodiversity at the grazing site prior to, and following, the introduction of prescribed grazing. TFN volunteers have since conducted several site assessments, guided by monitoring protocols that tightly align with those we developed in partnership with City of Toronto Forestry Staff as a part of our ongoing Cottonwood Flats Monitoring Project. TFN will continue monitoring at DVBWP this year and next. The data we collect and compile will be used to help assess overall trends in vegetation, and examine whether the introduction of grazers produces a net positive impact on suppressing unwanted or invasive vegetation.

Above: TFN members, Anna Waldvogel & Jason Ramsay-Brown, conducting an assessment on June 9, 2024. Photo courtesy Matt Forsythe/City of Toronto.

One TFN member, Jason Ramsay-Brown, had a personal interest in volunteering on this project. Here he is with his own little invasive grazer, Johnny D!

Toronto Field Naturalists wishes to acknowledge this Land through which we walk. For thousands of years, the Land has been shared by the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe. Toronto is situated on the Land within the Toronto Purchase, Treaty 13, the traditional and treaty Lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is also part of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum, a covenant agreement between Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Wendat peoples and allied nations to peaceably share the land and all its resources. Today, the Land is home to peoples of numerous nations. We are all grateful to have the opportunity to continue to care for and share the beauty of this Land.