Canada Geese Damage Management Areas

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CANADA GEESE DAMAGE MANAGEMENT

LANDSCAPES & TURF

Issues

Turf

Geese on urban lakes of Springifield, IL. Photo by Josh Kohout
Geese in an ubran area. Photo
Geese at urban lakes of Springfield, IL Photo: Josh Kohout
Geese on urban lakes in Springfield, IL. Photo by Josh Kohout
Canada geese on the urban lakes of Springfield, IL Photos by Josh Kohout

In many urban, settings business and private landowners pay a large amount of money to maintain the appearances of their landscapes. In 2002 “consumers spent $39.6 billion on their lawns and gardens, an average of $466 per household” (Backyard Nature 2005). Unfortunately, Canada geese can cause significant damage to turf grass and other surfaces due to foraging and fecal contamination, which can be a huge economic loss for the public, although it is hard to pinpoint a specific dollar amount. However, when one takes into account the labor, time, and resources it takes to simply reseed a lawn that has been damaged by Canada geese, the dollar figure can increase significantly. Many urban and suburban areas, such as well-kept lawns, golf courses, business parks, city parks, and recreational fields provide excellent forage for resident and nonresident populations of Canada geese. In the Atlantic flyway between 1994 and 1998, property damage reported for 70% of the complaint calls made to wildlife services. Of these calls, 82% involved large amounts of goose feces on various landscapes (MDWFA 1999). Obviously, Canada geese can be a huge nuisance as well as cause economic loss due to their damage to landscapes. Three of the major landscapes that these geese harm the most include golf courses, parks, and waterfront communities.

Golf Courses

Provided by Karnwithak via Flickr.com Provided by Karnwithak via Flickr.com
Need byline Photo: Karenwithak by Flickr.com Need byline. Photo Karenwithak by Flickr.com

 

 

Geese forage on the lush green turf that grow on golf courses providing an excellent place for geese to make pit stops or permanent territory to live on. Complaints coming from golf courses have risen over the years (Chasko 1985). Low numbers of geese on a golf course can even cause damage to grass and litter areas with their defecation. High densities of

Geese on a golf course. Photo Provided by birdyboo via Flickr.com
Need byline. Photo: Birdyboo by Flickr.com Need byline: Photo: birdyboo by Flickr.com
feces on greens and paths reduce the esthetic value and recreational use of these areas. Direct costs for golf courses include hiring personnel to clean greens each morning and chase geese during the day. Indirect costs, which most times is the biggest loss for a golf course, are affected by being managed for their esthetic beauty, which is diminished by a high density of feces or dead patches of turf (Chasko 1985). Resident geese cause most of the nuisance problems because they remain in the same area all year round. Resident geese attract migratory geese to foraging areas on golf courses, so resident geese are considered the main problem (Chasko 1985).

 

Parks

Geese will trample grass in medium-heavy soils, which can prevent vegetative growth, and eventually leads to erosion and loss of habitat for other species. Geese in large numbers or even small flocks that frequently visit the same area can overgraze and leave dead spots. Overgrazing can be largely problematic for areas like parks as most of the public does not appreciate picnicking at a place where grass is nearly non-existent and goose feces are scattered everywhere. Damage caused to a public place such as a park creates costly renovations required by the city to eliminate the problems. According to a park in London, England “reestablishing overgrazed lawns and cleaning goose droppings from sidewalks cost more than $60 per bird” (Smith et al. 1995). The amount of money used to clean up after Canada geese in parks can add up very quickly and create a huge economic burden.

Canada geese on Pioneers Park in Lincoln, NE
Photos: All by Josh Kohout.
   
 

 

Waterfront Communities

Waterfront property with geese. Photo
Waterfront Photo: Birdyboo by Flickr.com
Many people in urban and suburban communities enjoy the presence of geese until they start causing damage to lawns or abundant feces scattered over the area. The challenging obstacle about dealing with goose problems in urban settings is developing effective management strategies that are socially acceptable. Wildlife managers tend to favor lethal alternatives as being more cost-effective but also believe that these methods are not socially acceptable (Coluccy 2001). Laws and regulations that are administered by local governments limit firearm hunting in urban settings. With the restrictions on hunting in urban settings, other forms of lethal methods have been developed such as welfare harvests, landowner kill permits, and nest manipulations. “Cooperative efforts of federal, state, and local entities are needed to develop educational materials and programs necessary to: 1) make the public aware of the need to control local goose populations, 2) inform citizens about why certain management alternatives are recommended, and 3) successfully implement proposed long-term solutions to problems caused by giant Canada geese.” (Coluccy 2001)

 

Recommended Management Options

  • Ban Feeding
  • Landscape Modification
  • Exclusion
  • Frightening and Hazing
  • Egg Addling
  • Capture and Removal
  • Hunting
Details on these management techniques can be found at Canada Geese Control

Suggested Links

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usdahome

 http://www.fws.gov/

 http://www.flyways.us/

Canada goose track. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel

Recommended Citation

Canada Goose Management Website. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NRES 348 Wildlife Damage Management class, Spring Semester, 2010. Scott Hygnstrom, Instructor; Stephen Vantassel, Webmaster.

http://icwdm.org/handbook/Birds/CanadadGeese/Default.aspx Picture (left) is a Canada goose track. Photo: Stephen M. Vantassel

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