By Dick Sharp
Special Correspondent to the Glade Sun
A solution to the over population of Canada geese in Fairfield Glade is being addressed by Fairfield Glade Board of Directors. The board signed a contract with USDA Wildlife Services to remedy the health concerns caused by the large number of geese that have made their home in the resort. A presentation at the Community Center conducted by District Supervisor Keith Blanton, USDA Wildlife Services, provided the FFG Board and members an overview of the health problems due to goose droppings and methods to get the problem under control. TVA and TWRA established Canada geese flocks in Tennessee in the 1960s and 1970s. Hunters take about 20,000 geese per year during the hunting season.
The St. George Marina Manager said the geese droppings have become a serious problem on the beach with respect to health. Also, the beach, the docks and the picnic areas require extensive cleanup every morning by marina staff.
The problems of daily cleanup on the golf courses are also a big problem. Golf Director Steve Kraft and the golf course superintendent related many attempts to move the geese away from golf course greens. Some property owners expressed concern about the geese droppings on their property as well.
It turns out that Fairfield Glade, with manicured golf courses and manicured lawns near water, are the perfect habitats for geese to take up residence. Canada geese love manicured healthy grass to graze on and clear access to water.
According to Keith Blanton, there are several methods available to reduce the goose population and to discourage them from taking up residence at a particular location. Most successful results occur when more than one method is utilized. First, residents must not feed the geese. Some methods include capture and removal to another location more than 200 miles away so the geese will not return. Another way is to treat the eggs with corn oil or addling (shaking) the eggs so they will not hatch; the eggs are then returned to the nest. The result is that, over a couple of years, the geese will find FFG unsuitable for raising their young and will go elsewhere. Residents can also set up barriers between the water and grassy areas. Let grass grow long, as geese like grass cut short. Let plants grow tall blocking easy access to the water. Dogs can also be very useful in discouraging geese from claiming an area. Hunting is an option in some locations but not appropriate in FFG.
The USDA Wildlife Services contract for capture, removal and relocation of a certain number of geese from FFG will cover the summer of 2013 and 2014.
The best time to accomplish capture is mid-June to early July because that is the molting period when the geese cannot fly as they lose their flight feathers. The golf courses and marinas will use control methods determined by USDA Wildlife Services to be most effective which includes treating the eggs to prevent hatching.
Property owners with geese problems can call FFG management for advice or call USDA at 1-866-487-3297.