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City council approves USDA-Wildlife agreement to manage geese along the greenbelt

City Council Approves USDA-Wildlife to manage greenbelt gees

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - The Idaho Falls City Council unanimously passed a motion Thursday, to authorize the Parks and Recreation department to enter into a $6,000 agreement with the U.S Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services to manage the population of Canada geese and water fowl along the greenbelt.

The funding would implement an Integrated Pest Management Program addressing the overabundance of geese.

The purpose of the program is to reduce both the ecological and economic damage being caused, as well as the potential human health and safety concerns associated with zoonotic disease transmission.

Back in July 2013, the city entered into a $3,000 contract for rounding up and relocating as many geese after they had already passed through the critical flightless stage. An earlier start in 2014 will ensure more molted birds can be captured and taken off site and relocated.

A 50 degree day in Idaho Falls brings out the families to the greenbelt. The warmer weather also brings out the geese.

Six year old Oscar Kindall loves to watch them, but for his mom, she's watching to make sure he doesn't get too close.

"If we're where the geese are I'm definitely on top of my kids. I'm eying them, looking at what they're picking up," said Dierdre Kindall, Oscar's mom.

The greenbelt is visibly cleaner than last spring and there are less geese, but keeping it this way is still a concern for Kindall.

"It's definitely a concern. You know I don't them stepping in the poop, I don't want my young children picking up the poop," said Kindall.

The vote by the city council approved the program which will utilize a variety of tools and techniques at critical times of the year to give the best long-term results of managing the local goose population.

"As we did last year, the plan is to relocate a number of geese. We love the geese, it's just when the numbers get too high it becomes a mess for the city," said Parks and Recreation director, Greg Weitzel.

As the seasons begin to change, more people head outside. Whether they are on wheels, walking along the greenbelt of just a six year old taking in the scenery, sharing the area with the geese is part of the experience, but with the measure passed, it could also get less messy.

The agreement would also address the potential health and safety concerns from the diseases the geese could carry.

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