Environmental Impacts of Increasing Geese Populations
Large geese populations can impact the environment through:
- poor water quality, potentially causing eutrophication (water pollution), human gastrointestinal issues, and low oxygen levels that threaten fish survival
- soil compaction and vegetation loss from trampling and fecal contamination, which can impact food and shelter to other wildlife
Social Impacts of Increasing Geese Populations
Over the years, the RMOW has received complaints about the geese's impact on Whistler’s public beaches and parks. The majority of the complaints were about:
- the large volumes of goose feces on beaches and lake shores, creating health concerns associated with the fecal matter around swimming areas.
- geese inhibiting dock usability for people.
Although there is no record of complaints about noise disturbances from geese in Whistler, this has been an issue in other areas.
There are several costs associated with overpopulation of Canada geese. These costs are incurred by municipalities, landowners, and businesses.
Some of the costs are:
- maintenance of golf courses and other public spaces from needing extra equipment, staff time, waste disposal, and goose control contractors;
- monitoring to preserve other wildlife and their habitat; and
- staffing and potential health care costs if beach closure occur and people come into contact with contaminated water.
The geese's impact on tourist and public areas results in reduced enjoyment leading to fewer visitors. Beach closures due to high coliform levels can result in a substantial loss of tourism dollars.