Police the geese: National Park Service wants dogs to tackle DC's goose poop issue

Reuters / Jason Reed
The National Park Service may soon begin using border collies to chase away Canada geese from DC's public spaces, including the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, JFK Hockey Field and the Washington Monument grounds.

The agency said Tuesday that it is seeking public comment on its plan to use dogs to harass the very large Canada goose population in DC's parks, including at the National Mall and Memorial Park. The dogs would theoretically chase them to other parts of the parks “so that they are 100 percent goose free 95 percent of the time.”

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The agency said “the presence of the geese is leading to the degradation of the pool water due to defecation.”

Park officials told the Associated Press that large flocks of geese leave excessive droppings. Just one goose can leave behind two to three pounds of feces per day, which can damage pipes and filters in the reflecting pool and create a public health hazard.

No birds will be physically harmed during the hazing process,” the federal government agency promised in a statement.

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The harassment program would employ border collies, normally used to herd sheep, to scare the geese on land and in the water. The method teaches the geese the area is not a safe place to nest or feed. The program works best before local and migratory geese become attached to an area.

The National Park Service (NPS) said in the contract that “no water fowl or other living creature shall be killed, harmed or injured in any way,” and the contractor would assist the NPS with “education documentation to inform the public about the behavior of geese and the environmentally safe Canada Goose control harassment techniques being used.

The NPS is seeking public comment about the project through April 22.