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Sign Summer is Here, by Mindy Aaserud
Public participation and awareness are important elements in the strategic control of the Canada geese population in the Okanagan Valley.

To report a nest, please contact the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program at:

NEW TECHNIQUES TRIED IN 2014

New in 2014, trial techniques will be used along West Kelowna’s waterfront to frighten Canada geese and discourage waterfowl from nesting in and around beaches and overcrowding lakeside parks. A licensed contractor will carry out and monitor the effectiveness of the scare tactics. Residents will also notice District of West Kelowna staff using noise guns to drive geese away; a contractor will employ a team to routinely clean problem geese areas; and, West Kelowna will test water quality weekly at high use beaches during the late spring and summer.

A licensed contractor will continue with past year’s efforts to locate nests, conduct population counts and addle eggs to aid in further controlling goose numbers.

BACKGROUND

Canada geese may appear graceful when swimming in the Okanagan's lakes and ponds and their signature honk is a familiar sound in the valley's skies. However, the species can be very territorial and highly aggressive. Canada geese also have few natural predators, meaning their population can easily spiral out of control if left unchecked. Population explosion crowds out other species in the natural environment and creates conflicts between geese and humans and their pets in parks, sports fields and other urban environments. Large presence of waterfowl in local lakes can also contaminate water, leading to human conditions such as swimmer's itch. Conflicts are compounded when humans feed the geese, reducing the brids' natural fear of people, which leads to increased conflict.

In an effort to humanely control the Canada geese population, the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Committee was formed in 1995. The District of West Kelowna partners with BC Parks and other local government jurisdictions to support the committee and the management program.

In 2006, the management committee endorsed a five point plan in an effort to maintain a sustainable level of resident Canada geese in the Okanagan Valley:

  1. Public awareness and involvement
    1. A website and toll free access line are maintained and other opportunities are sought to raise awareness through local government partners, stakeholders and the media
  2. Reduce geese presence
    1. Scaring efforts and habitat modification measures are conducted in public conflict areas
  3. Population control
    1. Egg addling is done in accordance with best practices defined by the US Humane Society
  4. Monitoring
    1. Population numbers are measured and tracked in key conflict areas
    2. Annual population counts are conducted in the summer when the goose population is highest
    3. Juvenile geese numbers are tracked to measure the health of the population
  5. Program administration
    1. The profile of the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program is raised through signage, media, partners, stakeholders and other opportunities
    2. Stakeholder participation is expanded as required/requested
    3. The program is annually evaluated and revised as needed

LEARN MORE

More detailed information on the program can be obtain through the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program website:

www.okanagangooseplan.com

Last updated: 4/30/2014 5:10:20 PM