If geese are big polluters, let's get rid of them

How times have changed when our readers are seeing stories about geese being a major polluter of Lake Tahoe.

All of those regulations against boats, building, sewage systems, industry, dogs and whatever else officials can think of must be working when they have to share the stage with geese.

That's why we're happy that biologists trapped 439 of them on Lake Tahoe last week at the request of property owners and managers. But there are still hundreds of geese left on the lake, and we hope they expand the program to remove even more.

In fact, we would encourage municipalities, neighborhood associations and anyone else who cares to contribute money to fund a full-time goose specialist within USDA who could not only trap geese during molting season, but tranquilize and remove them at other times of the year.

Apparently, some parts of the lake's bottom have up to 2 inches of goose feces, something to think about on your next boating trip. And anyone who's tip-toed through parks or beaches frequented by the flocks knows they've already rendered some of those sites virtually unusable. A 10 pound goose can produce several pounds of droppings each day (prompting one of our online commenters to wonder if they're related to politicians).

Geese, at least those that live here year-round, are little more than a nuisance anymore, a sad contrast to the days when the sight and sound of a skein of geese in the sky was the harbinger of spring or the first hint of winter.

Anyone who thinks geese are still part of some sort of balance of nature is sadly mistaken. And, of course, humans are probably at the root of this problem, with our goose-friendly lawns, golf courses, bread crumbs and hunting regulations.

Maybe in the long term the answer would be restrictions on lawns but, in the short term, now that we've altered the ecosystem we ought to manage it well.

And if that means getting rid of geese - a major polluter of Lake Tahoe - then get the nets.


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