FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 22, 2004

Schumer Secures $199,000 For Solution To Canada Geese Problem

Geese overpopulation is a major health hazard to local residents and the environment

Federal funds included in the FY2005 Omnibus Appropriations bill which Congress passed late Saturday night will go towards USDA program in New York that uses humane methods to stop Canadian geese from ruining parks and fields

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that Congress has passed the Fiscal Year 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which included $199,000 in federal funds for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Wildlife Services to fund the second year of a pilot program in the Hudson Valley and Long Island to alleviate the Canadian geese overpopulation problem. The funds were included in the Agriculture Appropriations section of the bill. The bill now heads to the President for his signature.

Schumer obtained $200,000 for the first year of the program in the Fiscal Year 2004 federal budget for efforts to curb geese overpopulation, which threatens the health of local residents and the environment.

The New York State Office of the USDA Wildlife Services has been working with Geesepeace, a national non-profit organization, on the pilot program in targeted areas of Orange County, such as the Village of Monroe, and Long Island. The program uses non-lethal methods to manage the damage from geese and redirect them to areas where they pose less of a threat to people.

"Canada geese are overrunning our parks and open spaces and their droppings are polluting our water and our land," Schumer said. "When you talk to anyone who uses local parks, playgrounds, open spaces, athletic fields and golf courses, you hear the same complaint, time and time again. That's why we need a solution to this problem and that's what we have with the USDA and Geesepeace. In its first year, this program has already shown results in managing the goose population and keeping our parks and open spaces clean, green and beautiful. To collect all the necessary scientific data and ensure that the pilot program is as successful as possible, it needs funding for the second year."

Throughout the Hudson Valley, Canadian geese droppings are both a major inconvenience and a hazard to local residents, as well as an environmental risk to the soil and water. Canadian geese settle wherever they find grass and water, favoring cultivated areas such as parks and recreational facilities.

The program being piloted in New York by the USDA uses environmentally-safe and non-lethal methods to reduce the number of geese and redirect them away from public places. The process includes close coordination with residents, and recruitment and training of volunteers. "Addling" of geese eggs is the first step in the process developed by Geesepeace and used successfully in many areas of the country. Schumer visited the Hudson Valley last year to promote the program and at that time vowed to fight for these funds. The $200,000 for the program will be split between the Hudson Valley and Long Island.

The multi-faceted program includes:

• "Addling" eggs. Reproduction rates can be decreased by interfering with the eggs' development.

• Goose "nuisance abatement" techniques. Dogs specially trained to carefully and safely herd geese can encourage them to move by chasing them on a regular basis. Bushes and other physical barriers are also effective in controlling the movement of geese.

• Public education program. Feeding geese only encourages them to linger in public areas so the initiative includes a public education component to help stop feeding of geese. For more information on the USDA Office of Wildlife Services geese programs, see www.aphis.usda.gov. For more information on Geesepeace, please visit www.geesepeace.org.

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