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Fewer Geese Around Freedom Park Lake
The Park and Recreation Department program to reduce geese around the lake is working.
September 28, 2006

Charlotte, NC - The population of Canada Geese in Charlotte's Freedom Park is down an average of 61 percent a month in the last twelve months, after Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation began its program to reduce geese around the lake.

"This drop is significant, especially considering this is only after one year of goose control," says Michael Kirschman, Division Director for Stewardship Services. "We believe these results were achieved through the use of multi control methods, not just any one technique."

Park officials recommended a program in January 2005 to reduce the number of geese. This followed numerous complaints that the geese were congregating in large flocks and depositing excessive feces in public areas. The geese were damaging the turf and contributing to poor water quality in the lake. Sometimes there were human/goose conflicts, which could endanger young children

During 2004, the geese destroyed $7,000 worth of turf and cost $34,000 for sidewalk cleaning.

Techniques applied to reduce the geese demonstrated to the public and phased in during February, March, and April of 2005. These techniques included:

· New landscaping around the lake to make it harder for geese to walk in and out of water.
· Installation of low wire "fences" for the same purpose.
· Egg addling, or treating goose eggs in nests so they would not hatch.
· A roundup and relocation of most domestic ducks, which attract geese.
· An educational campaign designed to inform the public of the problems associated with feeding geese and ducks.
· A new ordinance enacted July 1, 2006 to provide for a $20 fine for feeding waterfowl in parks
· Flashing of a laser gun around the lake at night, which frightens the geese.
· Use of a chemical fog on nearby grass, which makes the grass distasteful for geese to feed upon.

When the program at Freedom Park was recommended in January 2005, the department was counting an average of 160 Canada Geese in the park daily. In the past year, the following average daily counts were recorded each month: October 2005: 52 (-68% from a year ago), November: 79 (-41%), December: 109 (-13%), January 2006: 33 (-71%), February: 28 (-66%), March: 13 (-53%), April: 2 (-93%), May: 22 (-52%), June: 47 (-59%), July: 50 (-59%). August: 24 (-70%), September: 8, (-88%).

The techniques described above, used in combination, will now be recommended for other parks. For more information about Freedom Park and the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, visit www.parkandrec.com .




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