Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Enbridge’s Innovative Goat Grazing Project: A Sustainable Approach to Vegetation Management


Enbridge’s Innovative Goat Grazing Project: A Sustainable Approach to Vegetation Management
The sight of goats bleating and wandering in the northern regions of British Columbia is a common one. However, these particular goats, distinguished by their yellow Enbridge bandanas, are far from typical. These 30 fashionable herbivores are not intruders on this plot of land situated along Pine Pass, north of MacLeod Lake, approximately 240 km north of Prince George. Rather, they are esteemed guests of Enbridge, invited to do what they excel at—feasting!
In collaboration with Spectrum Resource Group, Enbridge is delighted to employ these goats for the first time on our natural gas pipeline system in BC to ensure our rights-of-way are free from invasive plant species. This initiative, aptly named the Goat Grazing Project, allows these remarkable animals to consume aggressive grasses and shrubs that are considered invasive plants.
The removal of invasive plants is a crucial part of Enbridge’s commitment to integrated vegetation management along the pipeline right of way. This land needs to maintain an herb-dominated ecosystem, meaning only smaller plants like grasses and legumes should grow in the area. Shrubs and trees on the right of way hinder Enbridge’s ability to access sites for maintenance on our pipeline infrastructure.
So why choose goats? These amazing creatures have demonstrated to be one of nature’s finest grazers, with a hunger for invasive species that competes with traditional methods of vegetation management, such as chemical application and mechanical means like cutting.
“When these goats are confined in an area, they will overgraze these shrubs. When they are restricted in a space, they will consume everything on a plant, and that disturbance is far more damaging,” explains Dan Tisseur, Senior Environment Advisor for Operations and Maintenance with Enbridge’s Canadian natural gas pipeline business.
"The ideal situation is the goats consume everything. They eat the leaves, they eat the small branches, and they graze it right down to the ground.”
The Goat Grazing Project is part of Enbridge’s Integrated Vegetation Management Program, which combines both traditional and biological methods through the use of herbivores. So while these goats joyfully fill their bellies, we’re also doing our part to control invasive plants in an environmentally friendly manner.
While the idea of working goats might bring a smile to your face, Enbridge takes the Goat Grazing Project very seriously. To help gain deeper insights into managing invasive species effectively, we’re conducting research in the locations where the goats are grazing. This can be seen as a joint effort between Enbridge’s expert team and our hungry four-legged partners. While the goats feed their way down a pipeline corridor, Enbridge researchers and environmental specialists are diligently observing and recording the progress and efficacy of this approach.
"This is going to be a multi-year project to assess the efficacy over time. So we’re actually going to bring these goats back to the same location to repeat these treatments to see if over time we’re witnessing a reduction in the shrub biomass and invasive plants on site,” Tisseur says.
The next time you see a goat gracefully grazing along Enbridge’s pipeline right of way, know that it represents more than just a charming sight.
It’s a symbol of our dedication to sustainable practices and a reminder that sometimes, the most effective solutions come from working hand-in-hoof with Mother Nature.