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Discourage geese from visiting shorelands

Editor's note: The following information is part of the "Minnesota Water Ways" series distributed by the Department of Natural Resources. Large congregations of geese can affect Minnesota's waters. Most of us enjoy watching geese flying overhead ...

Geese
Contributed photo Too many geese concentrated in one area can cause problems, according to officials from the Department of Natural Resources.

Editor's note: The following information is part of the "Minnesota Water Ways" series distributed by the Department of Natural Resources.

Large congregations of geese can affect Minnesota's waters. Most of us enjoy watching geese flying overhead or swimming in the water. Watching a couple of geese wander onto the shore is entertaining, but many geese on the shore of a lake, river, or wetland is not so pleasant.

A single goose produces two to four pounds of droppings a day. A big part of that goes directly into our lakes, rivers and wetlands. Goose droppings contain fecal bacteria and nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, which are unhealthy for people, pets and water quality. Goose droppings can also contribute to the life cycle of the organisms that cause swimmer's itch.

Here are some tips for keeping geese from congregating:

First, do not feed geese. There are plenty of natural foods for them. Plus, geese get real comfortable with any food service and may decide to delay their trip south or their trip north. They may establish residence on your lake, river or wetland, or even your yard away from the water and exceed their welcome.

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Second, tall native plants discourage geese from visiting. Geese like sandy shorelines and lawns to the water where they are able to walk from the beach to a close-cropped lawn - an excellent feeding area. Geese like wide, open lawns and golf courses where they can see what's happening around them.

Native plants are less desirable to geese. Taller vegetation makes geese nervous about potential predators. A natural shoreline buffer of native grasses, wild flowers, shrubs and trees will help keep geese away. These plants have the added benefits of controlling erosion and filtering pollutants.

In some areas, the third tip - scaring the geese - may work. Some shoreland owners have had success with shiny streamers, letting their dog chase the geese, or putting up plastic owls. But, these have different success rates.

The best solution is a buffer of native plants.

Everything we do on the land impacts our waters. Learn how you can help. Visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website at www.mndnr.gov .

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