Ducks and Geese

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Ducks & Geese Notice

In recent years, City waterfront parks in Janesville have experienced a duck and goose population explosion. Today, parks such as Traxler, Monterey, and Riverside are suffering from concentrated waterfowl excrement and deteriorating lawn areas. Public concern over sanitation has been expressed. We feel the best approach to this concern is to recommend that you do not feed these waterfowl. Towards that end the city has enacted the following ordinance:

Chapter 6.22

Feeding Geese and Ducks
Upon Public Property Prohibited

Sections:

6.22.010 Feeding geese and ducks prohibited.

6.22.020 Violations - Penalties.

6.22.010 Feeding geese and ducks prohibited. No person may feed, provide or give any food or other edible item to any goose or duck, or any flock of geese or ducks, upon any public property or park in the City limits.

6.22.020 Violations - Penalties.

A. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall forfeit and pay to the City, as and for a penalty, a forfeiture of not less than ten dollars ($10.00) nor more than twenty five dollars ($25.00), together with the costs, fees and assessments of prosecution for each offense, and upon default in payment, shall be imprisoned in the Rock County Jail for not more than twenty days, or otherwise treated by the court as provided by law.

B. A verbal or written warning without a forfeiture penalty may be issued by the police officer for a first offense by a person.

C. In addition to the imposition of a forfeiture, the City may seek injunctive relief.

D. Each incident and each day's continuance shall constitute a separate offense.

We believe that by not feeding the ducks and geese, these birds will successfully return to feeding on their natural diet in and along the waters of our park system and the unhealthy concentration will diminish to natural numbers.

Do all of the ducks and geese a favor...observe and enjoy...but please refrain from feeding them.

Thank you from the Janesville Parks Division.

More About the Situation

How many geese do we want in Janesville parks , and how do we maintain that number? Some park areas have a high population of geese - and their droppings make it unpleasant to set down a picnic blanket or walk barefoot in the grass. The local giant Canada geese population skyrocketed in the 1990s statewide in urban areas, and the population has continued to remain high, populations are concentrated in Traxler, Monterey, Kiwanis, Riverside Parks and the Lions Beach and Kiwanis Pond areas.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource (DNR) and the Parks Division are cooperating to understand the nature of the geese and of the population problem. Ducks are not as much of a problem because duck droppings are much smaller than the cigar-sized geese droppings, which also do not dissipate as quickly. DNR wildlife specialists visit parks annually to round geese up and band them with age and sex tags. Tagging helps specialists collect information about migration and geese mortality rates.

Solutions are difficult because park visitors can be very emotional about waterfowl - they like to see birds and feed them in the parks. Deciding how many birds is "too many birds" needs to be determined before implementing solutions. The problem didn't happen overnight, and a solution will not either.

Simplest measures involve making the geese uncomfortable by not feeding them and not mowing where they like to visit. Geese prefer short-cut grass so they can spot any potential predators. The City has already tried a few things to discourage the geese congregation including "no feeding" signs, a costly spray repellent (that worked for only a week), oiling goose eggs to minimize new local birds, and using dogs to move the geese out of parks. Other techniques are available to repel, reduce or eradicate the geese population. The Parks Division would consult with the community before taking any further measures.

Ultimately, all the public can do for now is avoid feeding geese and ducks to help scatter the population. The Parks Division would like to know what your suggestions are to control and manage ducks and geese in natural population numbers, to maintain the beauty and grace that these birds add to our waterfront parks. We offer a brochure at our office that discusses this concern in more detail.