SASKATOON -- For weeks, 160 sheep have been grazing Meewasin’s Beaver Creek Conservation Area under the guidance of shepherd Jared Epp.

“We’re using the sheep as a natural tool through the natural process of grazing to help get rid of invasive species,” says Epp.

This is the 16th year Meewasin has used sheep to help improve the biodiversity of grasslands and enhance the habitat for wildlife.

Meewasin’s resource management officer, Renny Grilz, says this long-time initiative has helped.

“A good example is at the Northeast Swale a couple years ago. After we finished grazing we saw an increase in Richardson Ground Squirrels and with the increase in squirrels we saw an increase in birds of prey, such as hawks and owls.”

In eating the grass, the sheep clear the way for native species and plants to re-populate and flourish.

Epp gets help from his seven sheepdogs, who help steer the animals to the areas that need grazing.

“I couldn’t do this job without my dogs. The sheep are the perfect prey animal. Their main defence is to group together to stay safe from a predator. So all we’re doing is implementing nature. We’re taking predator, using it on prey and using that as a way to move our prey, which are our sheep.”

This weekend, Meewasin will be hosting sheep grazing demonstrations at Beaver Creek, and later this month at the Northeast Swale.