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Denver kills geese for homeless: Will FoCo follow suit?

Everyone knows Canada geese run the town of Fort Collins, but is the City going down the same path as Denver toward a geese round-up program?

Over the summer, Denver conducted a geese round-up program in which the city brought in professionals with the state and federal government to kill a portion of its geese population, donating the meat to those in need, according to a public release by the city of Denver. 

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“I don’t think our year-round population of Canada geese are growing very much throughout the Fort Collins area,” said Jim Gammonley, the avian research leader at Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “But there may come a day when individual landowners may want to use this method.”

With the Lagoon at Colorado State University undergoing restoration, there have been questions as to whether or not the City plans to embark on a more rigorous form of wildlife management and whether or not that will mimic the methods used by Denver. Prior to its renovation, the Lagoon was often occupied by geese and other waterfowl.

Just think of the geese like you would weeds. They are here and can be a problem, but they are manageable.” -Steven Lukowski, senior manager of parks

“The problem is the habitat is going to shrink as the City grows, and the geese will be pushed into the little remaining good habitat left,” Gammonley said. “So, you can have the same number of geese 10 years from now, but there might be less of a public tolerance for them.“

The bigger concerns about geese overpopulation are largely health-based, including water contamination, especially in bodies of water where the nutrient input from the remains left by geese change the chemistry of the water itself, which can impact other species depending on the water source, Gammonley said.

“That’s part of the problem: What do you mean by overpopulation?” Gammonley said. “It’s overpopulation if you don’t want geese on your property, but the area may be able to support all of the geese we have here without causing any kind of problems.” 

While this may be the case, Fort Collins does have systems in place to control Canada geese populations and their lasting effects, Gammonley said.

From civilians hunting geese outside of city limits to maintenance measures taken by golf courses and the like within the city, Fort Collins has options in establishing means of controlling geese populations and the impact they have on the community and the local environment, Gammonley said. 

“The City of Fort Collins does control work, the golf courses do control work, individual property owners too,” Gammonley said. “It crosses a spectrum, from hazing birds off a property to habitat management, with some methods requiring permits, like oiling eggs and such.”

Steven Lukowski, senior manager of parks in Fort Collins, said enough is being done now that the long-term goose population isn’t forcing the adoption of steps similar to Denver’s.

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“Just think of the geese like you would weeds,” Lukowski said. “They are here and can be a problem, but they are manageable.”

Dorina Vida can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @simply_she_

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