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  • Chestermere council directs parks department to work with province in remediating foxtail grass in off-leash dog park 

    The off-leash dog park has an environmentally sensitive area where chemical remediation cannot be used 

    Chestermere council directs parks department to work with province in remediating foxtail grass in off-leash dog park pic 2
    Through 2021, the City of Chestermere's parks department has been mechanically removing foxtail grass within the off-leash dog park area. City administration has now been directed to work with the province in determining the best way to remove the grass within the park. Photo submitted

    City of Chestermere Council carried the parks department recommendation to apply to the province for permission to remediate the off-leash dog park area ephemeral waterbody of foxtail grass.

    Foxtail grass is perennial in nature, has a shallow root system, requires very little soil to grow, is self-seeding, and is commonly found on roadsides, ditches, and unmaintained properties.

    “We’ve been addressing the issues. It’s recommended with non-chemicals such as mowing or biocontrol,” said Parks Manager Community Operations, Rick Van Gelder. 

    “These grasses become a problem when they are a seed head, all through last year we cut them down before they got to a seed head,” he said.

    Based on the city’s levels of service, allocating staff to remediate all levels of the approximately 14.7 acres off-leash areas would be difficult.

    “Due to the size of the park, it’s going to be very difficult to fully eradicate just because of the means of the way this grass spreads,” Van Gelder said.

    In 2021, the parks department mechanically remediated identified areas. 

    Before the development of the off-leash area, the city conducted studies to identify nesting areas and environmentally sensitive parks within the park.

    “The off-leash park has an ephemeral waterbody that is a wetland, but temporarily with heavy rainfalls or snowmelt. That’s the one area that’s a major concern for the foxtail,” Van Gelder said.

    Although the ephemeral waterbody area is not holding a body of water, it is muck, and equipment can’t be used in the area.

    As per environment Alberta, the park’s department can’t remediate the foxtail grass within the ephemeral waterbody.

    “There’s really only one chemical that will take care of foxtail, it’s the main ingredient in round-up, it’s a non-selective, so anything that we apply to that to will kill all the vegetation. Foxtail grows in clumps, if we spray the plant, everything by it will die,” Van Gelder said.

    Adding, “Being an off-leash area, chemical control is not our go-to, we try to mechanically deal with it as much as we can.”

    If the city did choose to remove the foxtail grass chemically, the off-leash area would need to be closed to the public.

    Van Gelder recommended the first step the city takes is to apply to Alberta environment to address the foxtail grass issue in the ephemeral waterbody and continue mechanically removing the grass.

    “Depending what the Alberta environment department says, that will determine our next steps,” Van Gelder said.

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