Rangeley to reduce its Canada goose population due to health concerns

Residents say the number of Canada geese has increased so much that they have put up fencing and used chemicals to deter them. Now the USDA kills about 100.

RANGELEY, Maine — Jamie Eastlack lives in Rangeley as a lifelong resident, but said the problems surrounding Canada geese only started a few years ago.

“It can do damage pretty quickly… The city beach has had some issues for the past few years,” Eastlack said.

He talks about the Canada goose population growing to the point where their poop is causing health problems, according to Rangeley town officials and the USDA.

Eastlack said he adopted his terrier, Wilson, as a goose deterrent, put up fencing and tried chemical sprays to keep geese away from his lawn.

“We fought it for 5 years and tried thousands of dollars worth of chemicals, fences…sprinklers…it’s a constant battle,” Eastlack said. “They show up every year and it just seems like they’re a little troublesome.”

Another lifelong resident, Alice Smith, told the NEWS CENTER Maine that the growing goose population worries her for the safety of children.

“It’s a vacation area, that’s all we have to sustain the town. So, yeah, I think it’s important for our vacationers and for locals,” Smith said. “I would consider it a problem for the children, for the guests in town.”

NEWS CENTER Maine did not see a single Canada goose during the Thursday report, although neighbors report the flock is moving in groups of up to 50.

This may be because the USDA has already euthanized much of the population that residents anticipated.

Of 93 geese the USDA said lived in cities, it removed 79, according to an email.

Due to the increase in bird flu cases, the USDA said the birds would be composted away from humans and wildlife, although no cases of bird flu have been reported in Franklin County.

Without bird flu, due birds pose another risk, according to biologist Brad Allen.

“Their droppings have E. coli, salmonella…things you don’t want in your drinking water,” Allen said.

Allen said efforts to reduce the Canada goose population to more manageable numbers will take years.

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