Foster City allows culling of 100 geese due to sanitation concerns
FOSTER CITY, Calif. – Foster City is moving forward with a plan to control the city’s Great Canada Goose by potentially culling the birds.
On Monday, the city council voted to clear the way for staff to apply for a depredation permit that could authorize the lethal removal of up to 100 geese. The city is in the process of applying for a permit, but nothing has been granted yet, according to parks and recreation director Derek Schweigart.
“To get one of those permits, we have a US Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA all recognizing that we have a problem in Foster City,” Schweigart said. “We have what is a potential health hazard here… not just with bacteria in our water, but access to parks.”
In a press release posted on the city’s website, staff said the geese had contributed to “deteriorating lagoon water quality and other sanitation issues.” They also said that the high levels of bacteria present in the lagoon are directly linked to the local waterfowl population.
The peaceful community of Bayside has become a favorite haunt for hundreds of geese due to easy access to food, water and lack of predators. Schweigart said the city tried misting, strobe lights, hazing and removing eggs from nests… but nothing worked. He said the city is exploring other options like a pilot program to use robots and artificial intelligence to confuse geese in an effort to change their behavior, while keeping the ability to kill birds if necessary.
“It’s a very difficult decision and I can guarantee the city is not taking it lightly,” Schweigart said.
The idea of culling the birds divides the residents. Opponents of the plan, including the Animal Protection League, said they met with city officials and suggested changing the landscaping throughout the city.
“When you pick up and disembark, fill in an area of the coast that is real habitat for waterfowl and fill it with condos and airports. We have to give something back and we have to have some grace about that. ‘, Susan Russell, with the Animal Welfare League, said.
Whether or not a permit is approved by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife remains to be seen, but Schweigart said the city’s any lethal option would only be used selectively and in conjunction with other non-lethal alternatives. .