Sayreville hires firm to deal with geese
by Aliyah Shahid/For The Star-Ledger Wednesday April 15, 2009, 12:57 PM
It's a common problem in towns across New Jersey, though it's not the sort of thing you bring up in polite company. Delicate euphemisms such as avian excrement or bird droppings stand in for more crude colloquials.
But whatever you call it -- that unsightly waste that peppers Sayreville's parks and property -- the geese that produce it have overstayed their welcome, and officials once again are looking for ways to expel them.
The Sayreville Borough Council approved a $12,000 contract with Goose Control Technology on Monday for the removal of geese for the 2009 season.
Sayreville has a significant goose problem, said Stephen Toth, the chief wildlife biologist for Goose Control Technology. He said several measures could be used to help curb the population in the borough's parks, including hazing the birds with a green laser to chase them away. He also mentioned reproduction control by addling the eggs and terminating embryo development by puncturing the eggs or oiling them so oxygen can't get in. Geese may also be euthanized, he said. Those euthanized are distributed to the homeless in New Jersey, said Toth.
Councilwoman Lisa Eicher opposed the goose contract.
"I'm an animal lover," said Eicher. "There has got to be another way to do this."
Jeffry Bertrand, the borough's business administrator, said Sayreville's problem is primarily in its parks and athletic fields.
"It's unbelievable," said Bertrand of the problem in War Memorial Park, which is just behind the borough hall. "You can't walk a 2-foot square area without seeing three to four droppings."
Although the price tag for the removal this year is $12,000, the cost can change later, depending on how big the problem is, said Bertrand. The borough shelled out $14,775 in 2006, the highest Sayreville paid in five years, according to Bertrand.
Toth said the process will most likely begin today.
Toth said a conservative estimate for the population of resident geese in New Jersey is 100,000. He said 75-80 geese were killed last year in Sayreville.
He noted that New Jersey Steel Helistop Heliport is in Sayreville, a concern after a U.S. Airways plane landed in the Hudson River on Jan. 15 after its engines were disabled by geese.
Too many geese can be a problem, said Toth, and not just because of their unsightly excrement, which can result in 1.5 pounds of feces daily for every Canada goose. They destroy the habitat by eating grass and leaving the soil bare, which could lead to erosion. Their fecal material could end up in the water system, and they can be aggressive when they are nesting.
The goose population in Sayreville, said Toth, is likely to increase toward the end of September, when resident birds draw in birds that are migrating from Canada and New England.
Sayreville, he said, makes an ideal nesting place for the geese because of its proximity to water.
"The geese think Sayreville is a good place to make a home," he said.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION TO HELP THE GEESE:
Please write to the city government officials below. Inform them that the city of Sayreville has been included in the Canada Goose Hall of Shame. We have also included informative articles about humane goose population control measures and other issues brought up in the story above.
- For the umpteenth time, geese are not a health threat
- Donating goose meat to food banks?
- Humane Methods and Success Stories
Council President Pro Tempore
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