Going to Santa Clara’s Central Park? be careful

Santa Clara’s Central Park has a goose problem. More precisely, the problem of goose poop.

In the Park of Life – according to one count – about 176 Canada geese, each of which loses about a kilogram of feces daily. For a year, that amounts to more than 63,000 pounds of feces dumped in the park, according to a city report.

Park visitors are well aware of the problem.

“The poop is too simple,” said Ramon Ochoa, who walks the park every day. “It’s like a jerk trap.”

He and his wife Nilda, who has lived in Santa Clara for decades, were in the park on Thursday for walks with their dog, Thor. The goose population appears to have increased in the last five to 10 years, Nilda said.

Santa Clara City Council recently approved a so-called “integrated goose management program”, introducing a number of short- and long-term steps to curb the goose population.

Everley Forte, chairman of the Santa Clara Parks and Recreation Committee, said the plan aims to change migration and nesting patterns – and ultimately reduce the goose population. Although they will never completely disappear, he said, the goal is to make the situation more manageable.

“If they were born there, it’s their home. They come back to it every year,” Forte told San Jose Spotlight. “We would like to see fewer (geese) come here in the first place and make it home.”

To that end, the municipality has contacted avian wildlife biologist Daniel Edelstein to develop the management plan, which the parks committee reviewed before moving to council. The share of parks in the city budget is $ 11.7 million for the current year, and the plan is not expected to have any further impact on the city’s general fund.

The problem is also an environmental concern, according to Edelstein’s report. It increases the requirements for park maintenance, affects the water quality in the lake and has the potential to spread poultry diseases to other bird species.

Santa Clara Council member Sudes Jane told San Jose Spotlight that goose droppings are clogging the filtration system at Central Park Lake. It was costly for the municipality to update the filtration system and replace the water regularly, he said.

“Doing something to try to minimize the number of geese that want to stay (in the park) is a financially sound plan,” he said.

City administration

The management plan has several stages. The first is to prevent people from feeding geese.

“It’s very important,” Matthew Doder, general manager of the Santa Clara and Eli Audubon Association, told San Jose Spotlight. “It’s terribly unhealthy for birds. They enjoy the food, but they do not digest it well. It can block their systems and kill them. “

The next step is to prevent the birds from entering the lake through fencing or vegetation around the lake. The third step is to stop the breeding of geese in the lake.

The municipality will start “adding” goose eggs while parent geese are absent to prevent hatching and minimize the number of new geese born in the lake. Addition is when immature eggs are covered with oil or females to prevent the eggs from developing and eventually hatching. This misleads the geese into thinking their nest is full and prevents them from establishing another nest during the mating season, Doder explained.

Historically, Dudder said, neighboring towns have tried to use skimmers, dogs, scarecrows, water cannons and even hire children to chase away the geese, all to no avail.

Park visitors are considering

According to park visitors, the volume of excrement around the park on Thursday was significantly lower than usual, but it was a problem that everyone experienced. They suspected it was because the water had been drained from the park lake for maintenance.

“It looks less bad today,” said Konal Motarja, who has been visiting the park for about two months with his dog, Divo.

Several families have reported mixed experiences with the park geese.

Dmitry Puriev, who lives in a nearby apartment in Santa Clara, was there with his 5-year-old son Iroslav. “It’s uncomfortable,” he said. But, he added, kids love to feed the geese.

Some seem to have come to terms with the geese. Michael and Rita Fallon, who have lived in Santa Clara since 1980 and walk their dogs in the park most days, said it does not affect them.

“It comes with the territory,” Michael Fallon said.

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