Invasive species are plants that are not native to our ecosystem and crowd out the native plants.
We are using sheep to help manage an invasive species, phragmites, inside the Tivoli Nature Preserve.
Phragmites is a tall, reed-like plant with a feathery seed head at its top. When fenced in densely and managed with rotational grazing, the sheep will eat phragmites and clear space for native species to return.
Please note this work was completed under our former name, Tivoli Preserve Community Farm.
Through funds provided by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the City of Albany began implementing various projects including invasive species management using a flock of sheep based on research and work done by Professor Gary S. Kleppel of the Department of Biological Sciences and former longtime director of the University’s Biodiversity, Conservation, and Policy Program.
The project is part of a larger initiative associated with Albany 2030 that aims to revitalize the underused green space in downtown Albany.
The sheep will improve soil health and biodiversity within the Preserve.
A small flock of sheep, chickens and alpaca are housed in Tivoli Lake Preserve when the vegetation is lush from June until November.
Our sheep are used for managing invasive species in Tivoli Lake Preserve. They are fenced into small paddocks using portable electric fencing and a solar fence charger. On grazing mornings, our shepherd moves the animals in the with the help of a border collie and a small group of volunteers help with shepherding them to the barnyard in the evening.
Our chickens help control parasite populations in the barnyard, which prevents the likelihood of lethal gastrointestinal diseases in the flock.
Our alpaca help ward off predators, which prevents the chickens and sheep from being harmed by other animals.
Our flock is supported by veterinarians and adheres to guidelines provided by the New York State Sheep and Goat Health Assurance Program.
The animals are housed at Albany’s historic Normanksill Farm in the colder months.
The Normanskill Farm, also home to community gardens and a dog park, is rich in a history that begins with the establishment of Normansville in the early 1800s.
On using sheep to manage invasive species
Caroline B. Girard-Cartier and Gary S. Kleppel (2015)
Grazing as a Control for the Spread of Mile-a-Minute (Persicaria perfoliata) and the Restoration of Biodiversity in Plant Communities in a Lower New York State Parkland
Gary S. Kleppel and Caroline B. Girard-Cartier (2011)
Invasive Plant Control by Livestock: From Targeted Eradication to Ecosystem Restoration
Gary S. Kleppel (2019)
Microbial community structure in pasture and hayfield soils of the Helderberg region of New York State: a comparison of management strategies, Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
Gary S. Kleppel and Erin LaBarge (2011)
Using Sheep to Control Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
On how “grazing-done-right” can have positive effects on the plants and birds in grasslands.
Lisa R. Cassidy1 and Gary Kleppel
The Effect of Grazing Regime on Grassland Bird Abundance in New York State
Caroline B. Girard-Cartier and Gary S. Kleppel and (2017)
Grazing and the Coupling of Biodiversity in Vascular Plant and Soil Microbial Communities