Janesville’s geese management plan is failing

Janesville’s geese management plan is failing

Janesville’s latest plan to manage its geese population is falling flat.

Parks Director Tom Presny said at first, the coyote cutouts seemed to be helping keep the geese out of the parks, but now, the cutouts aren’t cutting it.

Presny said the volume of goose droppings in the park is one of the biggest complaints he hears. Presny estimates there are more than 2,000 geese in the Janesville area, and the Parks Division is looking for solutions in hopes of reducing that number to around 450.

Many area residents, like Allen Terpstra and his grandson, Damien Terpstra,  come to Traxler Park every day, and it’s hard not to notice all the geese.

“Whatever they leave behind, that’s usually what you notice first,” said Allen Terpstra.

“With current reductions in budgets at the government level, this is a service we’ve had to cut,” said Presny. “Now the question is: How important is it to the community? Should we, in fact, be managing our geese, or is it not important?”

Coyotes are natural predators to geese, so the plan was if the birds saw the decoys, they’d choose another place to settle down. The coyote cutouts were created and donated to the city. With a budget of only a few thousand dollars for geese management, Presny said, they were looking for no- or low-cost solutions.

“We’re believing it’s largely unsuccessful, but I think the chance going forward for these is to put them out in very high-use areas and see if the geese stay away,” Presny said.

At first, the coyote cutouts seemed to be helping keep the geese out of the parks, but the birds caught on.

Presny said there is research to support the use of decoys.

A volunteer created them and set them up in both Traxler and Monterey parks.

Since the idea wouldn’t cost city taxpayers, they decided to try it, Presny said. The bottom line is the city wants people to enjoy using the park instead of dealing with what the geese leave behind.

Damien said he would like to sit on the ground sometimes to fish, but he can’t because of the droppings, but that won’t keep him out of the park.

“Nothing is going to stop me from fishing. I come fishing every day; doesn’t bother me,” said Damien.

The eight cutouts were put up this spring, but only four remain. The others were destroyed by the weather.

Janesville’s geese management plan is failing

Presny said they hope to redesign them to make them look more realistic and move them more frequently. He’s hoping that will help.