July 2, 2006

City moves geese from streets to food shelves
Abundant population becomes nuisance at beach, golf course

Pioneer Press

Beach-goers can't swim because of them, motorists have to halt in traffic for them, and they are starting to chase golfers at the public course.

Geese have been flocking all over Woodbury, and the city this week is rolling out phase two of its plan to get rid of them.

Workers from The Canada Goose Program made a first sweep in mid-June of the Eagle Valley Golf Course, the Carver Lake Beach area and the Valley Creek Road and Radio Drive intersection — which is near several trails and open-space areas — netting almost 200 geese. They will return this week to round up any remaining birds and donate the meat to local food shelves.

It's a solution Woodbury has turned to before, in 1998 and in 2002.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources introduced trapping and processing in 1995 as a pilot program to control the metro area's burgeoning goose population.

DNR officials said at the time that the agency was running out of places to relocate geese. So rather than simply kill and bury them, wildlife officials decided to take advantage of their food value.

The removal project is a city initiative, and birds have been removed only from public property. Woodbury officials said they initially explored other options to control the goose population.

"We contemplated whether dogs would be reasonable, but we decided not to do that," said Bob Klatt, parks and recreation director. "You'd have a dog running around loose, and all that does is drive the geese to another location."

The problem intensifies when geese return to the same feeding and nesting area each year, driving up the population.

Shaun Peltier, a manager at the city-owned Eagle Valley Golf Course, said this is the first time the geese have breached the course.

"It's a fairly significant problem from the customer's perspective," Peltier said. "(The geese) get mean. They literally chase the players around."

The geese also leave a lot of droppings on the course and tend to congregate on the greens.

The problems also are persistent on roads and at the Carver Lake Beach area.

City officials said the birds had to be removed from the beach area because of health concerns; their droppings could have polluted the water.

Meanwhile, geese crossing the street have forced motorists to stop, creating traffic hazards in busy areas, Klatt said.

Klatt said he has received a phone call from a resident concerned about the removal program, but he said he has received several calls from residents complaining about the geese and requesting the city take action.

Nancy Yang covers the Washington County communities of Woodbury, Oakdale, Cottage Grove, Lake Elmo, Newport, St. Paul Park and Grey Cloud Island Township. She can be reached at or 651-228-5480.



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