Lakeville goose control plan met with criticism

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The "Goose Crew" is being called in to help control the population of Canada geese in Lakeville – but some of the south metro city's residents are pooh-poohing the game plan.

FOX 9 reports the city of Lakeville last week voted to bring in Canada Goose Management, Inc., run by Tom Keefe, in an effort to deal with excess fecal matter. Brett Altergott, the city's director of Parks and Recreation, told the station the geese "can go up to 3-4 pounds a day per goose. So, if you have 100, that's quite a bit."

Goose fecal matter led to a seven-day shutdown of the beach on Lake Marion in Antlers Park in 2011, due to bad water quality and the threat of E. coli.

“We really want to look at the water quality, that’s No. 1,” Altergott told WCCO. “With all the goose droppings, that does wash off into the lake, and that can get that E. coli to spike, which in the past has caused shutdowns of the beach for a day or two.”

The problem that residents appear to have with Keefe – who is the only person permitted by the state DNR to catch and capture geese – is what happens to the birds after he captures them. The goslings are reportedly processed and donated to a wildlife research facility for animal food, while the adults are donated to food shelves.

Resident Jeremy Myer and his family are taking issue with the method, telling FOX 9 there has to be a way of getting rid of geese without killing them.

Keefe says he's been hearing the criticism since he started capturing geese in the early 80s. But without controlling the population, the number of geese could explode from 15,000 to over 300,000 he says.

He told WCCO that, while what they do might "sounds extreme" to people, under "federal law, we could burn them or bury them, but we feel we want to utilize as much of the bird as much as we can.”

Keefe generally captures geese when they are flightless from the middle of June to the middle of July. His crew has about 100 customers, which includes city parks and private golf courses.

Keefe told FOX 9 the crew has reduced the goose population by about 120,000 in the company's history.

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