Moratorium for Greenwood Lake geese roundup remains tabled West Milford. The Greenwood Lake Commission is moving to more non-lethal means of controlling the geese population this year.
Greenwood Lake Commission Secretary Allison Wagner holds one of the signs that will be appearing around the Greenwood Lake area to address the geese problem.
ANN GENADER photo
By Ann Genader
A geese retardant spray, approved by the EPA, was recently used at several New Jersey properties and marinas on Greenwood Lake, while a moratorium for a geese roundup remains tabled. Messina, a company that has a geese retardant spray approved by the Environmental Protection Agency has a vegetable-based product and is providing a free of charge test. The product, after being dispensed, is supposed to have an effect four to five weeks. “We have agreed to try it in hopes that it would be a great solution to our geese problem,” said Greenwood Lake Commission Co-Chair Paul Zarrillo. The proposal for a moratorium for the geese roundup this year was tabled at the May 22 Greenwood Lake Commission meeting because of a lack of a quorum of eligible voting commissioners being present. This actually cancelled the possibility of any valid action taking place this year as the phase that the program would have been in will have passed by the time of the next meeting on June 26 at the Senior Center in the Village of Greenwood Lake. Zarrillo’s stated opinion is that the roundup would not have taken place this year anyway, as several surveys (geese counts) have averaged less than 62 sightings at any one time. Due to the unique behavior of resident and migrating geese the available program designed to stabilize the geese population is planned in phases. Phase One that involved locating nests would have taken place late March to May 1 and Phase Two involved egg addling April through May 7. If there had been a sufficient number of commissioners to vote at the May meeting the Phase Three Site Aversion phase from mid May to mid June would have been well underway at this time. This is the time when all geese lose their feathers for six weeks and cannot fly from mid June to Aug. 1. It is when resident and migratory geese are looking for a safe place to molt. The object of his phase is to harass the geese so they realize it is not a safe place to molt and they leave – otherwise they stay throughout the summer. It was noted that it is a violation of federal law to harass geese with goslings but resident geese with failed nests and migratory geese can be harassed to leave. It would be necessary to have a border collie, a trained dog to follow the geese in the water in a kayak or small gas powered boat to convince the geese that a water sanctuary is not available to them. In the meantime, the commission is deploying signs to not feed the geese in an effort to get residents to help in population control efforts. The signs will soon be appearing at business places and other locations around the lake. The commission purchased the signs that include reasons for the request. Regular feeding of waterfowl can cause excessive droppings, closure of bathing beaches, species overpopulation, delayed migration, poor nutrition and disease and aggressive behavior the signs advise. West Milford has an ordinance in place that allows a judge to fine violators as much as $100, but the New York side of the lake does not have such a control in place. Although some people would like such a provision enacted by law on the New York side of the lake, others there object to it, and want people left with the freedom to interact with the fowl if they wish to feed them. An integrated approach, with landscape modification where practicable, perhaps augmented by goose deterrent devices, will bring change, advocates of this method say. Others add that uniform enactment and enforcement of feeding bans and educational programs focused on living with Canada geese will also bring results. It was reported at the May commission meeting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture survey in New Jersey of three nests on May 21 showed a nest by rocks empty (there had been four eggs there); three were out of the nest on Fox island and there were four added eggs at the West Shore line. Last year, the commission spent around $20,000 on the issue, including the gassing of at least 64 geese on the New Jersey side of the lake, Zarrillo said.