RMOW staff is seeking the community’s help with its 2015 Canada Geese program
With the goal to keep ecosystems healthy, beaches and parks clean, and to ensure park visitor satisfaction, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has begun a program to help modify where and how Canada Geese inhabit the lakeside areas in Whistler and is reaching out to the community to participate.
"Birds are already nesting and the public's help is requested to identify locations where the birds are seen," said Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. "It’s a two-fold problem: the geese can be quite territorial and aggressive with people and they can cause environmental and health impacts. We are working toward a situation where the geese can still nest and live in the valley, but in numbers and areas that are better for them and for the community."
The Goose Management Plan incorporates several approaches throughout Whistler including population control and deterrence techniques such as fencing, and trained dogs.
The key to the success of the program is finding new nests. The public is asked to report to the RMOW lone geese, pairs of geese, or nest locations on private or public land within the municipality. People are being asked to keep away from goose nests and avoid touching the eggs. Those with questions about geese on their private property or the RMOW's Goose Management Plan should contact the RMOW.
The resident Canada Goose population has resulted in beach closures due to fecal counts in the water, which also adversely affects fish populations. In summer 2014, the birds dropped up to 34 kg of feces on the shorelines and grasses of Rainbow Park per day. The RMOW has received complaints from landowners, visitors, and recreation and tourism operators concerning the impacts from the geese.
Canada Geese do not historically nest in the south, but were introduced to Southern Canada in the 1970s for hunting and wildlife viewing. These non-native geese are unable to migrate because they had no natural parents to teach them. The consequences have been a growing population with few natural controls and a need to manage populations.
Canada Geese are a protected species under the Migratory Bird Convention and require a permit to interfere with their activities. The RMOW is following Environment Canada’s handbook on management techniques to help control goose populations.
More information about the program is available at whistler.ca/geese.