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This article was published 1/4/2015 (1831 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
City hall is changing its arsenal in the fight against gophers.
City crews will be relying on sulphur smoke bombs to kill the scourge of city parks and sports fields.
"It’s a lit product that you throw down the gopher hole and it emits a sulphur gas and ends up asphyxiating the gophers," Dave Domke, manager of the city’s parks and open spaces.
Domke’s crews drew unwanted attention last summer when a dog became seriously ill following a visit to Little Mountain Park after it ingested a piece of the city’s then-preferred weapon of choice – an anti-coagulant poison.
Gopher holes – actually created by rodents known as the Richardson ground squirrel – in many parks and sports fields have become a major concern of city hall, where they pose a safety threat to runners and athletes young and old.
Domke said there are about a dozen parks and sports fields where the problem is most severe and they had been employing the poison to kill the gophers.
But the use of poison was suspended last summer following the incident at Little Mountain Park.
Domke said the city had been conducting a pilot program using the sulphur smoke bomb, known commercially as the Giant Destroyer, at John Blumberg Park. It proved successful and is now being employed at other areas where the gopher holes are a concern.
"We’ve had incidents where people and dogs have experienced sprained legs because of the gopher holes," Domke said. "If there is a concern we have to try and control that problem."
Domke said the anti-coagulant poison will not be used this year.
Crews will begin surveying the open fields – where the gophers have been a serious problem in the past – at the end of April and early May.
Domke said crews look for signs of fresh dirt around the holes – indications of new gopher activity. The sulphur smoke bombs will be dropped into the holes.
"We’re never going to eradicate or exterminate (the gophers)," Domke said. "We’re just trying to control them."