Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Morning News reports that Geesepeace group offers to scam some money from Bella Vistans

Geesepeace knows what it is talking about. But why the big prices? Just eat the eggs when you find the nests and save money on breakfast. Kill a goose and cook it if you have a license during the season. The plan sounds as though it might work. But why spend thousands of dollars on a border collie?" Get one cheap from the pound, borrow one or just use a neighbor's Labrador retriever. Heck, even an Irish setter probably can do the job. They love to swim and chase big birds and never run out of energy.
What happened to the plan to invite people in other rural areas to adopt the geese? Volunteer conservationists are great. But professional conservationists sometimes get greedy. This ain't rocket science! And what is so bad about a golfer getting a little something messy on his cleats. Are they all just weak-kneed pansies or what? Is golf more important than wildlife?

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Organization Delivers Bella Vista Goose Plan
By Anna Fry
A goose population control program suggested by GeesePeace would cost the Bella Vista Property Owners Association $10,860 initially, then less than $5,000 annually, according to a report released Tuesday.
GeesePeace, a Virginia-based nonprofit group, promotes nonlethal methods for controlling Canada geese. The Bella Vista Property Owners Association invited GeesePeace representatives to visit after residents complained about a board decision to use a federal permit to shoot 100 geese. The board revisited the issue and decided to pursue different methods.
The village has an estimated goose population of 1,000. Many say geese droppings foul the community's lakes, parks and golf courses.
GeesePeace's suggestions change from community to community, but the formula is similar and uses the same techniques, Director David Feld said.
GeesePeace suggests the association oil eggs in April. That means coating eggs with corn oil to seal pores so oxygen can't get in and biological processes stop. That's only done to eggs in which the embryos haven't developed lungs. Treated nests are taken down.
The association should do intensive "site aversion" between mid-May and early July, according to the report. Site aversion means making areas inhospitable to geese. Bella Vista could use one border collie to chase geese but a second dog would be helpful in the first year, the report states. The border collie should flush the geese from parks and golf courses during the first week of May. Handlers should transport the collie by boat to flush geese from lakefront properties and the lakes.
The intention is to make geese feel the area isn't safe so they'll move elsewhere. The collies don't need to flush all lakes every day, but the collie should return on a random cycle.
A border collie would cost $4,500 and can live with a host family, who would receive a monthly stipend of $110, the report states.
GeesePeace also suggests the association buy handheld lasers for $80 a piece. Workers can point the lasers around geese, who will fly away, Feld said. Border collies are much more effective, but the lasers are quiet, he said.
Site aversion stops between early July and mid-August because the geese can't fly when they are molting. After molt, site aversion with the border collie starts again and continues until geese begin looking for nesting sites, in February, Feld said.
The report gives a brief history of the nation's problem with resident Canada geese. In the first half of the 20th century, they were captured and had their wings clipped or legs weighted so they could be used as live decoys that drew other geese to bodies of water. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and some state agencies started a repopulation program and required the release of captive geese in the early 1960s because hunting threatened the population with extinction, the report says.
The descendants of captive geese and those born from the repopulation program don't migrate to Canada because geese nest in the area of their birth.
The association doesn't have money set aside in next year's draft budget for goose population control, Chairwoman Roberta Dale said. The board was waiting for GeesePeace's report to make a decision about implementation and could make one at a quarterly budget review next year after consulting with the Lakes Committee, she said.

Fast Fact

Canada Geese
If Canada geese can find open water when the temperature is 10 degrees Fahrenheit, they'll stay warm enough because they have down on their stomachs and chests that insulates them.
Source: GeesePeace Report

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