Rochester Parks Dept. gives update on goose mitigation efforts

(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester Parks & Recreation Dept. has been making efforts to limit the goose population in the Med City and has been trying different methods to keep the population from growing.

Two different methods have been used to try to limit the population. Last spring, the parks department used a method called egg addling, where volunteers oiled the eggs in the nest. This spring, they tried the ceramic egg replacement method.

"They’re equally as effective. It wasn’t because oiling was more aggressive it was our effort. We intentionally left some eggs to hatch," Paul Widman, Director of Rochester Parks & Recreation Department, said.

Widman said more goslings were born this spring compared to last because the department intentionally left eggs untreated due to requests from Rochester residents. But, the department still treated nearly 250 eggs and kept those from hatching this spring.

"A slightly smaller population would be lovely, but no geese would be a loss. So it’s like we need a little bit of both," Rochester resident Andi Sutton said.

"I don’t really like the geese because they poop too much and they hiss at you," Flannery Haven Sutton Wilkins said.

The south fork of the Zumbro River in Rochester is classified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as being impaired for recreational use because it contains too much fecal coliform bacteria from goose droppings.

Widman said the mitigation results aren’t going to be as visible in the first two years. This is a long-haul method.

"It doesn’t reduce the population. It only slows the growth," he said.

Widman said there are pros and cons to both methods. Looking forward to the future of the population mitigation, oiling takes longer and the department has already invested in the ceramic eggs. Widman thinks the ceramic egg option will be the method used going forward.

"Without the geese, it would be a radically different lake," Sutton said.

The two methods used are recommended by the Humane Society of the United States and are considered humane.