🔹 Geese overrun NJ park

🔹 Locals say longtime issue

🔹 Lethal plan upsets some

PEAPACK-GLADSTONE — Another New Jersey town has opted to resort to a controversial way to get rid of nuisance Canada geese — rounding them up and killing them with carbon dioxide.

Members of the Peapack and Gladstone Borough Council voted in March to enter a contract with federal wildlife officials.

Specifically, the "culling" would be carried out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, during early summer, when geese were molting and unable to fly away.

The plan to kill geese and the method, while sanctioned by the USDA, has been criticized by animal activists as being cruel and inhumane.

In a joint statement, elected officials in the Somerset County community said the goose population at a local park was an “infestation” that has worn on residents for 20 years.

ARCHIVE - Liberty Park in Peapack-Gladstone NJ (Google maps)
ARCHIVE - Liberty Park in Peapack-Gladstone NJ (Google maps)

Spring Lake used the same method in 2022 to kill a flock of geese there, as did Edgewater officials in 2016.

The same strategy was also used in Mount Laurel to rid the community of invasive geese 14 years ago, New York Times reported.

“The Borough has tried every reasonable, humane effort to discourage these animals from occupying our Park. Some have worked temporarily, but none have provided a permanent solution,” Peapack-Gladstone officials said in a written statement, following the council vote.

"The park and its pond are a fully man-made development that is too small to support a population of up to 60 geese in a way that is compatible with safe and enjoyable use by our residents," borough officials continued.

Peapack-Gladstone NJ (Google maps) plan to kill geese
Peapack-Gladstone NJ (Google maps)

Canada Geese, on average, drop up to one and a-half-pounds of feces every day, according to the Deal Lake Commission, which has been treating goose nests along the lake as a means of population control under its own federal contract last year.

Droppings can carry harmful bacteria, and are also a strong source of phosphorus and nitrogen in waterways.

"There is clearly an overpopulation issue, which leads to the spread of disease and degradation of the environment," Peapack-Gladstone officials also said, adding they would use other, non-lethal deterrents to keep new geese from moving back into the area.

"Their behavior and excrement are a threat to Park users, both human and animal," the joint statement continued.

The Department of Environmental Protection said the 2023 resident Canada goose population in New Jersey was estimated to be 63,485 birds.

“Efforts to reduce goose populations often are undermined by people who feed the birds, which often concentrates them near heavy human-use areas,” according to a DEP article about the species’ high numbers in NJ.

The same report added overcrowding also increases the chances of avian disease among such a bird population.

Following the borough's approval of a lethal plan to remove the geese, a group called "Save the Liberty Park Canada Geese in Peapack-Gladstone" held a protest at the park late last month.

One of its members spoke on video about their appeal for the community to change course:

Camille Dicarlo calls for the humane treatment of Canadian Geese in Peapack NJ from MaryLynn Schiavi on Vimeo.

The Animal Protection League of New Jersey was a driving force behind the grassroots effort against the plan to kill geese, and supporters attending recent council meetings, to voice non-lethal options.

Following passionate feedback the borough would be "trying two additional measures to evaluate if they will help mitigate the geese infestation."

The use of a geese-repellent product called “Flock Free” and a drone to "rouse and hopefully disburse the flock from the area" would be used in addition to the active contract with the USDA, Corigliano said in an email to NJ 101.5.

"Unlike the border collies used in the past, the drone can follow the geese over the pond as well as across the street to ballfields where the geese feed," Peapack and Gladstone Council President John Sweeney added in a separate response on May 21.

Federal biologists would still be monitoring the population and "potentially remediating the flock in the future should these measures not work fully," Corigliano added.

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