Removal planned on Mirror, Shadow lakes
By Angie Landsverk
There will be a geese roundup in the city of Waupaca this year.
It will take place sometime between June 15 and July 4 on Mirror and Shadow lakes at a cost not to exceed $3,500.
Rotary Riverview Park may also be included in the roundup.
The common council voted 10-0 in favor of the measure when it met on May 2.
“Lots of communities try non-lethal methods, which often push birds to neighboring property,” said Mike Jones, a wildlife biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services.
Jones worked with the city when it did its first geese roundup in 2011.
The USDA caught and removed 29 geese in that roundup, he said.
While those who live near Shadow and Mirror lakes initially noticed a decrease in the number of geese after that roundup took place, they noted the population of the bird gradually increased again.
Last year, the geese also creeped over to Rotary Riverview Park, said Aaron Jenson, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Jenson said past harassment tactics included predator decoys, dogs, flare guns, shoreline efforts and egg oiling.
None of them proved to be effective.
He said goose control has been an ongoing topic of discussion between the Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of Mirror Shadow Lakes.
Concerns of the department included cleanliness and possible health and water quality issues at South Park Beach.
Last summer, the department received a number of complaints from park users who were concerned about geese feces at South Park and Rotary Riverview Park, Jenson said.
The department then worked with the Waupaca County Health Department to conduct testing for E. coli and other bacteria considered to be health concerns, he said.
“Everything came back good,” Jenson told the council. “But we want to keep it that way.”
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the lifeguards who work at South Park Beach pick buckets of geese feces off the beach on a daily basis, he said.
The USDA deals with nuisance wildlife issues, Jones said.
For about three weeks, geese lose their flight feathers.
That is when roundups are scheduled.
The geese are captured, removed and euthanized.
Jones said the preference in communities is to process the birds and then donate the meat to food pantries.
The birds are first tested for mercury and lead.
“We do about 30 sites every year,” Jones said.
Last year, the USDA caught 49 birds in 45 minutes in a Waupaca County community, he said.
“We’ve only been rained out twice,” Jones said.
One of those times was in Waupaca.
The USDA still captured about 30 birds that day, but Jones said it was not the capture it wanted.
While the city is budgeting $3,500 for the roundup, the cost averaged around $2,000 in 2016, Jenson said.
The Parks and Recreation Department will cover half of the roundup’s cost through its operational budget.
Residents who live on Mirror and Shadow lakes will be asked to support the roundup financially, said Jenson.
If their support does not cover the other half of the cost, the Friends of Waupaca Parks will cover the gap, he said.