Greenwood Lake Commission discusses geese management alternatives

| 02 Jul 2019 | 11:10

The Greenwood Lake Commission continued its discussion on geese management during its June 26 meeting at the Greenwood Lake Senior Center.
“It’s really unrealistic to think that you can eliminate the geese,” said Nancy Minich during her presentation at the meeting. “All we’re going to try to do is keep them off people’s properties and allow them to go somewhere else.”
Minich, an award-winning landscape architect and registered horticultural therapist, was contacted by the Animal Protection League of New Jersey to provide landscape recommendations to address the geese issue.
She recently toured the lake with members of the Animal Protection League as well as commission members and noticed that most of the problem areas were located where there was development, or changes to the original landscape.
Minich said she believes the biggest problem, however, is the lack of riparian buffers around the lake.
“A riparian buffer provides numerous critical functions for plants, animals, and the environment in general,” she said during her presentation.
According to Minich, these naturally and densely vegetated strips of land act as effective deterrents to geese as they will be reluctant to travel through them.
She suggested creating these type of buffers out of native grass, plants, and shrubs to not only create barriers for the geese but to also cool the lake water and filter sediment.
During her presentation, Minich showed images of residences around the lake as well as a number of sites, including the Sportsmans Marina, Thomas P. Morahan Waterfront Park, South Shore Marina, and Brown’s Point Park.
She pointed out various issues that are likely contributing to the problem on those properties and then presented digitally altered images showcasing how those issues could be addressed with riparian buffers.
According to Minich, she would ideally use 6-12 foot-wide buffers, but said that supplementing with fencing is an option where there’s not enough space.
She also stressed the importance of riparian buffers for filtering out non-point source pollution and improving water quality.
Minich mentioned more complex solutions besides the buffers and talked about the importance of educating people about geese treatment, riparian buffers, and native plants as well.
According to Minich, if the commission decides to move forward with her suggestions, then she would supervise the project, but it would be a joint effort with the commission, volunteers, and others.
She offered to start with a test project in the fall.
With the moratorium for a Greenwood Lake geese roundup still tabled, and no lethal geese population control scheduled this year, the commission is continuing to consider alternatives like Minich’s.
After her presentation, Commission C0-Chairman Paul Zarrillo said he and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Eric Payne recently did a survey of the lake with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and counted 207 geese.
Zarrillo also said he and Paul Messina, vice president of Messinas, tested one of the company’s products on numerous properties around the lake about three weeks ago, but they’re still waiting to see how effective it is.
Messinas is a worldwide supplier of garden and pest control products and the commission had arranged to try out the company’s product before performing a larger scale operation.