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USDA to remove some greenbelt geese

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - The Idaho Falls City Council approved a $3,000, year-long contract with USDA Wildlife Services on Thursday night to manage the goose population on the greenbelt. The decision was unanimous.

The area near River Parkway 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.

Parks and Recreation Director Greg Weitzel said Friday the Department of Agriculture was handling the geese because they are a protected species and fall under its authority.

Wildlife Services will conduct a roundup of some of them and relocate them to a wildlife management area. Some of the geese will be left on the greenbelt. Next year, Wildlife Services will also treat eggs so they don't hatch.

The city is working on an education campaign to tell people not to feed the birds.

The city council will consider an ordinance prohibiting feeding the birds on July 25. The Parks and Recreation Department has 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.

Weitzel said Thursday the goose droppings on the greenbelt were more than an inconvenience.

"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," he said.

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