Officials taking action to reduce goose problem at Lakeside Park
by Elsie Hodnett
PELL CITY – The city is working on its goose game plan, hoping to reopen the beach at Lakeside Park this May.

“We are doing a few things to address the problem,” City Manager Patrick Draper said, adding that the Pell City Parks and Recreation Department staff will do egg addling to help prevent the goose eggs from hatching.

“They have to watch for the gander and identify the nest, then put vegetable oil on the eggs, which will prevent them from hatching,” he said.

Pell City Parks and Recreation Department Director Bubba Edge said the parks and recreation department staff will identify the nests, then do both egg addling and oiling around the first of April.

“Their egg laying takes place mid-March through mid-April in the southern states,” he said. “We don’t want to do it too early because the geese may not have laid all their eggs. Around the first of April, all the eggs should be laid but not yet hatched.”

Edge said the egg incubation time is 28 days in the southern states, so the goslings would hatch around the first of May.

“We will only do nests on city property at Lakeside Park and the Sports Complex,” he said. “We are only going to deal with the eggs—we are not killing any live animals.”

Edge said residents will see results this year, however it will take approximately three-to-five years to see optimal results.

“It depends on how successful the oiling and addling is to reduce the overall goose population,” he said. “And the city has a ‘Do not feed’ ordinance that bans feeding of waterfowl. Signs are posted at Lakeside Park and the Sports Complex.”

Draper said the city is also participating in the United States Department of Agriculture roundup of geese in June.

“The USDA employees round up the geese at a low cost to the city,” he said.

Draper said another issue is a beaver dam in Lakeside Park.

“We are working under the direction of Alabama Power Company, which has control over all streams leading to the lake,” he said. “The beaver dam is holding back water, which allows bacteria to accumulate. Then when we have heavy rains that wash the water over the dam, it ends up in the lake. A free-flowing stream will hopefully eliminate the problem.”

Draper said under the direction of Alabama Power Company, the city would likely use the USDA to trap the beavers.

“Then the dam can safely be destroyed,” he said.

Draper said he wants residents to know the city is working to fix the “goosance” problem.

“We do have a plan in place, and we are implementing it,” he said. “Hopefully our actions will allow us to reopen the beach in May.”

Draper said the city would do all necessary testing before reopening the beach to help ensure the safety of people using it.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

© 2013