UNION COUNTY—The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has authorized $347,000 for a three-year agreement with the Wildlife Services Bureau of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have the bureau manage the population of Canada geese in county parklands and recreational facilities.
The measure was undertaken to protect county parklands for public use, including golf courses and other recreational facilities. The program will also help protect habitats in nature conservation areas and waterways, officials said.
Experts from the USDA have developed a program called “Integrated Damage Management” that combines lethal means such as euthanasia and hunting with non-lethal approaches including harassment, nest disruption, preventive landscape management, and educating the public to stop feeding wildlife.
Canada geese are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The overpopulation of geese in Union County is part of a broader problem. The USDA estimates that a ten-year management program is needed to stabilize the number of Canada geese on the North American continent, which is estimated at 3.5 million. Almost 200,000 geese reside in New Jersey in mid-winter when seasonal population peaks.
Part of the USDA management program includes educating the public to help prevent large numbers of geese from congregating. Chief among these is to stop putting food out for the geese and other wildlife.
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