Our Goose Problem

Sure, they’re cute at this age. But they grow up to become:

The geese cause problems. They create health problems with their droppings. They create traffic problems too. From the general public sentiment out there, the Canada Goose has almost achieved “pest” status.

Eden Prairie has the dubious honor of having roughly 9% of the Metro area goose population. The City of Woodbury has a similar population. Our Purgatory Creek Recreation Area (PCRA) has a large number of nesting and fall migrant geese and is a great gathering site for our population, along with the floodplain area and Olympic and Bearpath Country Clubs.

The City has a goose “collection program”. We employ a contractor to collect adult geese, an while I don’t want to get too graphic here, they eventually become donations to food shelves here in the Twin Cities. Collections this year will be focused on the following areas:

1. Hidden Ponds
2. Duck Lake (coming off the public access)
3. Purgatory Creek Recreation Area
4. Water Plant / City Hall pond (they tend to migrate back and forth)
5. Lake Smetana Park
6. Red Rock Lake Park

Round Lake and the Glenshire wetland mitigation areas will also be checked, but significant numbers of geese are not anticipated at these locations.

In the past, we’ve also had a program where goslings were collected and transported to a preserve in Iowa, although it looks like that preserve may now be full and that option is not likely to be available to us after this year.

We also assist local businesses with goose problems. The following businesses have requested to partner with the City for goose collection projects: GMAC, Rosemount/Emerson, and MTS. We will also be approaching Starkey Labs and ADC to enquire about participating as they also have active populations that migrate around to sites we are collecting at.

In addition, the City will also be conducting doing a one-day evaluation of the floodplain area to see if the geese are loafing in areas that would be readily accessible for trapping. This information will be used to approach Lower Minnesota River Watershed District and the airport to inquire about partnering in a goose capture program for this area.

The estimated budget for the City’s goose management program in 2005 is $15,000. However, an exact amount will not be known until the final collection is completed. The estimated budget for 2006 is $22,500 (this includes a cost �share amount for the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District area) and $20,000 for 2007. We are also discussing adding a fall evaluation in 2006 to check up on numbers in comparison with what we found in 2004 (an additional $2,500).

We must manage our local goose population in order to keep Eden Prairie a wonderful place to live, work, and play for the human population that pays the bills around here.

I’d like to thank our Environmental Coordinator Leslie Stovring for helping me with this post. She knows a lot about geese. Thanks Leslie.

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