Sheep and goats will help Ostrava with grass

Cameroonian sheep and goats could be grazing on the outskirts of the center of Ostrava as early as next year. The city council of the central district of Moravská Ostrava and Přívoz (MOaP) wants to save the floodplain forest there, which invasive plants are oppressing. The sheep and goats are to keep the site between the central wastewater treatment plant and the Oder River.

“The site has been deliberately unmaintained for a long time as part of the so-called ecological stability system. Unfortunately, it turned out that invasive plants, such as goldenrod had taken over the whole area. It is gradually crowding out other and woody plants, which is reducing the biodiversity of the floodplain, “Rostislav Řeha (Pirates), deputy mayor of the Municipality of Prague, explained.

Help from experts

The town hall has therefore decided to change the maintenance of the floodplain forest and reverse the current situation so that a diverse plant composition returns to it and invasive plants are suppressed. “At the same time, we would also like to bring this floodplain forest closer to the public. The deputy mayor pointed out the site also has great potential for the possibility of connecting cycle paths,” the deputy mayor pointed out.

Therefore, the district asked for help from experts from the Agency for Nature and Landscape Conservation and the Faculty of Science at the University of Ostrava. They first suggested that the site could be grazed all year round by wild horses and prairie dogs. However, this option proved to be unfeasible due to the insufficient land size.

Creation of grazing land

“We are therefore currently discussing with experts the idea of creating grazing areas in the floodplain forest for Cameroonian goats and sheep, which would stay there from spring to autumn, i.e., for about five months of the year,” says Řeha, adding that the proposal is already being discussed with experts from cooperating institutions. If there are no unexpected obstacles, everything could be implemented as early as next year,” the deputy mayor summarised.

A similar problem is also being solved in Krnov in the Bruntál region, on the site of a former military shooting range. Semi-wild horses are supposed to help with invasive plants that oppress protected species.