“Large flocks of resident Canada geese around the National Mall leave excessive goose droppings, as much as 2-3 pounds per goose per day” – Comment on an NPS Plan to relocate them using border collies

Photo by PoPville flickr user Phil

From the National Parks Service:

“The National Park Service is accepting comments from the public on a proposed plan to relocate geese from parts of the National Mall using environmentally safe and humane methods. The project would use border collies at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument grounds and John F. Kennedy Hockey Fields to haze the Mall’s large and growing Canada goose population into moving to other parts of the park. Comments are being accepted online through April 22, 2015.

Large flocks of resident Canada geese around the National Mall leave excessive goose droppings, as much as 2-3 pounds per goose per day. More than a nuisance to pedestrians, the droppings damage the pumps and filters of the Reflecting Pool;degrade the park’s natural and cultural resources;and their feces have potential to create a public health hazard. With the assistance of the border collies, which are bred to herd sheep and have a natural instinct to round up flocks of geese, the geese will be encouraged to abandon the lawns and water in these areas and relocate elsewhere. No birds will be physically harmed during the hazing process.

How to Comment

The preferred manner for providing comments is via an online form through the National Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website, used by the agency to manage official correspondence and analyze public comment in the planning process. From the project website, navigate the menu on the left hand side of the page to Document List, then Performance Work Statement, then Comment Now.

Comments may also be submitted in writing to:

Karen Cucurullo, Acting Superintendent
National Mall and Memorial Parks
Attn: Goose Control
900 Ohio Drive SW
Washington, DC 20024

Comments must be entered into the website or postmarked by April 22, 2015 to receive consideration. Please be aware that the entire comment submitted –including personal identifying information such as address, phone number, e-mail address –may be made publicly available. Requests to withhold such personal identifying information from public release will be considered, but there is no guarantee that they will be withheld.”

42 Comment

  • We should hunt them and give the meat to the homeless, like they do with deer in rock creek park.

  • Blithe

    I hope this works. I’m a little bit worried about where the relocated Canada geese are gonna go. And, like many, I wonder what the plan is for cleaning up the dog poop along with the goose poop.

    • The dogs likely won’t be there long enough to poop – or their owners will clean it up like responsible owners. My school used to do this and it wasn’t a problem. The geese relocated to the nearby reservoir and streams, so that wasn’t a problem either. They find a place fairly quickly and easily and reprogram their brains to go back there.

    • It sounds like these will be “working” border collies, so they might be too busy to take a break of that nature… and if they do, I’d imagine their human handlers will clean up after them.
      Plus the number of collies should be pretty small in comparison to the number of geese.

  • They could try the approach that a golf course did around where I grew up: hunt a couple of them and just leave the severed heads lying in the fairway. The geese seemed to have gotten the message, mafia style.

  • The thought of a bunch of border collies tearing around the mall happily chasing geese makes the day a little better.

  • Although I’m not sure hunting on the national mall is the most practical solution given the urban environment, Canada geese sure are delicious! We had one at Thanksgiving.

    Also, can we play with the border collies after their shift is over????

  • Two to three pounds of poop PER GOOSE per day??? Wow, that’s a whole lotta s***. No wonder the NPS wants to relocate them.

  • gotryit

    I guess I should have looked closer. Based on the amount of crap being strewn around, I just assumed it was a flock of politicians.

  • Hopefully NPS will also consider bringing the border collies to the golf courses.

  • They should relocate the geese to a big hole in the ground using a shotgun and a shovel.

  • Where can I sign up my border collie mix? Only sort of kidding.

  • Why not just hunt them and kill them? Then we don’t have to deal with this issue again…

  • Cull them or catch them and sterilize them. Growing up in Seattle we had tons of them and playing lacrosse on a wet goose poop laden filed was “fun.”
    If we’ve killed their only predator – then we need to step in and reduce the population.

    • I agree. They don’t belong here. They were supposed to be migratory, but they stopped doing that some time in the last 20 years.
      I think they can be sterilized through diet, can’t they?

      • Not really, as far as I know (I used to work for an agency that did some goose control). As far as I know, the favored method is to “addle” the eggs, which does something to them so that they don’t hatch.

      • Probably not through diet – but something simple.

      • They are absolutely still migratory. Do you see as many in July as you do in December? No.
        Why? Because they migrate back to Canada.

        • When I was wee-high, north of here, it was a big deal when the Canada geese come through, spring and fall. You’d hear them honking, then run outside and try to see them, and if you got REALLY lucky, they might stop over in your pond for a day, and you could take pictures with your Kodak Disk camera. They were special and rare. Now they are everywhere all the damn time.

        • Actually, these are “resident” populations, as noted in the announcement. Very few of the geese in this area do migrate. We have enormous resident populations, as they have plenty of food (grass), and no natural predators. They have been around all winter in droves.

        • We have both migratory and resident populations of Canada geese in this area.

  • I’d pay good money to watch this.

  • I’m horrified by the number of people here who are advocating killing Canada Geese.

    • Are you also horrified by the number of people eating food? Eating wild grazing, reproductively profligate animals like this is one of the most efficient food sources there is. A vegetarian/vegan diet still requires irrigation and inefficiencies of energy use for transportation (Unless you’re growing everything you eat in your own yard.)

      Shoot them and eat them. Pigeons too!

  • I can think of nothing more awesome than the ensuing roving packs of adorable Border Collies that will supplant the geese. And unlike the gorillas, which the NPS brought in to kill the snakes that were introduced to eat the lizards that wiped out the pigeons we all desperately wanted to get rid of in the first place, Border Collies won’t freeze to death in the wintertime.

  • I hunt and would love to hunt them, and it would produce a huge amount of meat to donate to Central Kitchen and Hunters for the Hungry, but there is no safe way you could discharge a shotgun using birdshot on the Mall.

    You would have to block the Mall off from all people, but what if there is a bird close to the border? Shot could easily go wide or over into a neighboring street. Just not practicable, sadly.

  • Nice hat


  • ThunderCheese

    That small goose might be a Cackling Goose.

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