FOSTER CITY (KPIX) – Bird droppings from the growing geese population ruffle more than a few feathers in Foster City. Now, the town hall is getting involved but not everyone agrees on the solution.
Lawmakers voted unanimously to allow non-lethal and lethal options to control the goose population which has doubled during the pandemic.
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“So it’s about controlling the population, mitigating the population, not eliminating or eradicating the population,” said Foster City vice-mayor Richa Awasthi, who wants to reassure the public that he will continue to try non-lethal options first.
But she said it was about balancing the birds and the health and safety of residents.
The city’s goose population is the largest it has ever been: 323 in June 2021, double the number in June 2020.
But goose droppings are so bad that they have caused dangerous levels of bacteria in the water and, in the past, even forced some beaches to close.
There are concerns that people will get sick with bird flu.
“We are nature lovers, we love trees, we love wildlife,” said Soumik Saha, a resident of Foster City, who even said he thought the goose population was out of control. There are hundreds of them. Oh my God, the gardens over there are infested with goose droppings. It’s terrible because when kids dive in, they dive in all the poo.
Awasthi said the city has received complaints from residents about geese falling accumulating on lawns, public parks and playgrounds as well as on walkways and schools.
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“Extremely dangerous, and this definitely poses a health risk,” Awasthi said.
Last Monday, city council members voted 5-0 to allow geese mitigation, first with non-lethal pitons, including habitat modification and fogging which involves irritating birds with a safe chemical to deter them from going to certain areas.
Another non-lethal option includes adding eggs in which the eggs are prevented from hatching, but Awasthi said results could take nearly a decade.
City leaders also voted to allow the city to apply for a federal permit that would give them the ability to trap and kill birds, and even destroy their nests.
Awasthi said they must prove that they have exhausted all other options to get the permit approved.
“We have had some opposition, but I think this is to clarify that eradication is not our goal,” Awasthi said.
Saha said he feels bad for the birds who have decided to settle in a city and hopes the non-lethal options make a difference.
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“No, the lethal option doesn’t look good to me, I’m glad they are trying the non-lethal option,” Saha said. “The balance would be to take the geese out and put them somewhere they belong.”