Geese Management Meeting for Lion’s Head Waterfront Recap – Management Plan to be Ready February

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Joanne Rodgers, 
Bruce Peninsula Press

Killing geese can only be the last resort under Law. Environment Canada will only consider kill permits after it is clearly demonstrated that all reasonable management options have been attempted. The municipality may also have to ensure that there is adequate public support to pursue this measure. 

At the Public Meeting held in Lion’s Head on Dec 11 to discuss the past and proposed deterrents to minimizing the geese population at the Lion’s Head Waterfront, Mayor McIver indicated that the majority of waterfront areas throughout Ontario are struggling with the impacts of growing geese populations, with few successes.

Currently, about 40 geese call the waterfront their home, with about another 250 being transient. Bill Jones CAO reviewed the deterrents used such as strobe lights, decoy animals, native species planting beds, use of a trained dog and by staff disturbing the geese. There were varying levels of short-term successes but no permanent solution.

Councillor Golden expressed concern about children playing on the contaminated beach. Local Veterinarian, Trace MacKay stated that there was not a high risk from casual contact with goose droppings, but there was still a health risk. The very young, the very old, pregnant and immuno-compromised being at highest risk. So another good reason to keep the resident goose population limited.

Some of the options discussed at the meeting were the use of temporary fencing in the Spring and Fall, increased use of trained dog(s), use of drones, assigning staff/contractors and/or students specifically to this issue, making the current environment less hospitable to the geese, taking timely action prior to the geese becoming established in the Spring. 

It was noted that there should be differentiation between residential geese and transient geese and the focus should be on a long term solution to deal with the residential geese. Mr. Jones stated that whatever is done, there will be costs associated with it.

Local resident Karen Livick says while she understands that the waterfront needs to be a safe and clean space, killing geese was not a good solution and Lion’s Head would not want to be known as the village that kills geese. She considers a management plan as a positive step forward. 

Councillor Megan Myles summed up the discussion; geese management needs to be a multi-year, multi-faceted, long term approach with a focus on residential geese, tracking the effectiveness of measures employed and utilizing local expertise, possibly creating a Community Task Force.

The Geese Management Plan including costs, staffing requirements and action plan is expected to be ready by February, with implementation in March/April 2020. The municipality is looking for public feedback, a survey will be available on their website (direct link is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/35N3ZT6). They will also reach out to local experts and other municipalities and agencies to discuss deterrents that have proven successful. 

A copy of this meeting’s presentation is available on the municipality’s website under News and Public Notices. A must read is the “Handbook for Managing Canada Geese and Cackling Geese in Southern Canada” located at https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/migratory-bird-conservation/publications/handbook-managing-cackling-geese-southern.html