Friday, April 17, 2009
USDA offers goose roundup plan for Monroe-Woodbury area
Southern Orange officials weigh proposals to collect and gas geese
By Chris Mckenna
Posted: April 17, 2009 - 2:00 AM
The gloves might soon come off in what has so far been a strictly humane approach to reducing the Canada goose population in the Monroe-Woodbury area, a place the waddling manure-spreaders have come to love.
Federal wildlife specialists met recently with frustrated local officials and have offered to take their anti-goose crusade to the next level: a roundup and ominous truck ride, the purpose of which is easily reckoned by fans of "The Godfather."
Reactions so far have been mixed.
"Will it fly? I don't think so," said Woodbury Supervisor John Burke, weighing the likelihood of approval by his Town Board.
But Harriman Mayor Steve Welle firmly supports the idea, saying he worries about the health risks goose droppings pose and suspects that repeated efforts to drive geese from Mary Harriman Park and other local fields and ponds have merely shuttled the birds around.
"I think we're playing pingpong between us, the schools and Woodbury," Welle said.
Any municipality or business that decides to go lethal may contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which charges $1,560 for its workers to come and $5.50 for each goose they remove. Geese are herded into a pen, loaded into crates and hauled away on a trailer.
According to Ken Preusser, district supervisor for the USDA Wildlife Services offices outside Albany, captured geese are driven to "a secure location," gassed with carbon dioxide and buried.
Thus far, lowering the number of formerly migratory geese in the area has consisted of "hazing," which means scaring them away with dogs, remote-controlled boats and rubbing oil on their eggs in spring to keep them from hatching.
Crane Park, a popular goose hangout in downtown Monroe, looks remarkably goose-free these days, although Mayor John Karl said Thursday that the fowl are nesting elsewhere and will likely return to the park in force. Nonetheless, he said, his Village Board has already ruled out euthanizing geese.
Welle said his board will debate the issue once it gets a formal proposal from the USDA.
Monroe-Woodbury Superintendent Joseph DiLorenzo, whose district sent a representative to the recent USDA meeting, said he hadn't been told of the roundup option and needed more information to evaluate it.
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