City council mulls geese-feeding ordinance

City council mulls geese-feeding ordinance

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - The work session at the City Council meeting in Idaho Falls including a topic in hot debate with the public: the geese at the greenbelt.

The area near River Parkway in Idaho Falls is a big problem spot with too many geese, too much mess and too many people contributing to the problem of overpopulation by feeding the geese.

The Parks and Recreation Department proposed several options to the city, including a fine for feeding wildlife. The fine would cover feeding not only geese, but seagulls, pigeons and ducks.

At the greenbelt in Idaho Falls, a picnic quickly comes with many uninvited guests.

"There's a lot of geese, a little more poo than I would like," said Tammy Yu, who brought her two young daughters to the greenbelt just to feed the geese.

Almost every inch of the grass and sidewalk is covered with bird droppings.

"That's also a health concern, because folks, especially children, could come in contact with diseases that are found in these feces like salmonella and crypto, so that's a major concern," said Parks and Recreation Director Greg Weitzel.

"One of the most important things is an ordinance banning the feeding of the population, to let them be wild and let them go find their food naturally as they would," said Weitzel.

With people like Yu, who brought her two daughters  just to feed the geese, controlling the problem will likely involve a fine.

"We like them, we like the geese and we like the ducks and we like to come down and feed them," said Yu.

She said if an ordinance to ban feeding the geese passes, it would be much more fun for her girls to be in a cleaner environment.

Yu used to come to the greenbelt as a kid and she said it was much different back then.

"There's just a lot more geese than I remember. It is a little dirtier than I remember, so if they had someone who could clean up a bit it would be fantastic," said Yu.

As part of the proposed ordinance, the Parks and Recreation Department proposed the City Council approve a contract with the USDA to help with overpopulation.

One way the USDA curbs the overpopulation is to find the goose nests and coat the eggs with a special type of oil to keep the eggs from hatching.

The fine to feed the geese could be upwards of $100. The city will also add signs to the greenbelt area explaining why feeding the geese is not a good idea and the health risks that come with it.

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