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Ducks have defenders; geese, not so much

September 17, 2012
By KATIE SCHWENDEMAN - Staff Writer ( , Morning Journal News

EAST PALESTINE - A North Market Street resident believes getting rid of geese at the park won't be easy since they are federally protected.

Gene Hoffman said a permit is needed to remove or relocate the geese.

"I don't agree with the local environmentalist on some of these issues," he said, referring to village resident John Herbert, who brought the matter up at the August Village Council meeting.

Hoffman said he "especially" didn't agree with Herbert's suggestion the pond the geese and ducks frequent be filled in and used as a dog park. He believes doing so would be a "great expense" for the village.

On the matter of ducks, he said they are not a sanitary or health hazard like the geese.

"Ducks do more good than harm as a result. They eat bugs, produce nitrogen rich manure and are very resistant to disease," he said.

He added the ducks, which he has been feeding the last 20 years, draw people to the park.

Councilwoman Endia Wisser said at last week's council meeting she doubts the area will be turned into a dog park "anytime soon" and suggested the village look into purchasing goose repellent that comes in the form of a non-toxic spray.

Village Manager Pete Monteleone said he is considering environmentally safe alternatives to address the problem, including the repellent.

He said the spray is harmless to people and the environment and is priced at about $85 a gallon. One gallon would treat approximately 800,000 or 900,000 square feet of land, he noted.

Councilwoman Ellen Beagle questioned the use of the repellent and asked if Wisser and Monteleone spoke with sales people or environmentalists. She said she spoke with someone from the state Division of Wildlife and was told the spray was not effective.

"Eighty-five dollars per 800,000 square feet sounds good until you start multiplying How much are you going to need?" she asked.

Council members and some residents attending the meeting briefly discussed other options, such as sound and light deterrents.

Herbert said red and green laser lights could be used to ward off the waterfowl and suggested a city employee use them at the park twice a day.

Wisser said other areas have implemented "stress calls," or blasts of sound through a speaker system that mimic a goose in distress. Yet another option was using dogs to chase them away, but dogs are currently not allowed in the park, Councilman Don Elzer pointed out.

"If we're feeding them they aren't leaving. I don't care how miserable (we make them). The community needs to decide if they want them there or not," Beagle said.

Kip Reeves, who moved back to the village after living in Virginia for a while, said the only way to effectively deal with the geese is to have them removed.



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