The premier edition of the Grand Lake Guardian last August included an article I wrote about the impact the geese were having on Lake Merritt. (See “Goose poop conundrum.”) I concluded with an invitation to attend what was supposed to have been a soon-to-be-scheduled meeting on the subject to be hosted by council members Pat Kernighan and Nancy Nadel.
Fast-forward a year… the City has recently released a background report prepared by a team of environmental consultants from Jones & Stokes.
City councilmembers Kernighan and Nadel will host a community meeting this week to give the public a chance “to learn more and weigh in on the various geese management techniques that are being considered.”
The community meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, July 26, at 7 PM at Lakeside Park Garden Center. [See map. Bellevue Avenue is one way, so if you’re driving, turn off Grand Avenue at the Fairyland entrance to Bellevue.]
The 16-page report is available on the Public Works Department’s Measure DD page as three pdf (i.e., Adobe Acrobat) files: the Lake Merritt Canada Goose Management Study (2.4MB), a Goose Management Technique Matrix, and the study’s bibliography. Be forewarned, if you have a slow internet connection, you’ll have to be patient when downloading the main report, as the pages feature photographs and graphs and will take a long time to download.
I’ve just skimmed the report enough to have a rough grasp of the contents. The emphasis seems to be on making a distinction between the year-round population of some 200–400 geese, on the one hand, and the visitors during the summer molt that number approximately 1500 on the other. My assumption is that the City’s recommendation will probably focus on discouraging the latter while making accommodations for the year-round residents.
Whatever the recommendations, my guess is there will be some extremely vocal opposition from individuals supporting not just wildlife—but also the status quo.
I’m more than a little leery of criticizing individuals who publicly question the city’s decision-making process—particularly since the powers-that-be obviously blew it with regard to the Oak-to-Ninth Project… not to mention the fact that we have a renovated Splash Pad Park only because the community, under the leadership of Caroline Kim, said no to development on publicly owned parkland.
Nevertheless, more often than not the City gets it right and, when they do, their common-sense proposals foster the betterment of the community. I’m personally frustrated that a small group of individuals has managed to derail major Measure DD improvements through a lawsuit halting tree removals around the Lake. Hopefully, this will not be the case with efforts to curtail the goose population and minimize the habitat destruction and onslaught of goose poop.
On the latter subject, I have to note that the Jones & Stokes report indicates that an adult goose typically produces a tenth of a pound (dry weight) of feces per day. Last August, I cited an article by Chronicle reporter Jim Zamora in which he quotes Stephanie Benavidez, the head naturalist at Lake Merritt’s Rotary Nature Center as saying, “Each bird produces about a pound of poop a day.” I don’t know what to say about this major apparent discrepancy, but I do know that on July 26, a lot of people are going to be talking shit.