SALEM, Ore.-- Oregon’s Geese Control Task Force will meet for the second time on Thursday, March 18 from 10 a.m.-2 pm. PT in the Commission Room at ODFW Headquarters, 3406 Cherry Ave NE, Salem.
Members of the public are welcome to attend in person or listen to the meeting by phone (call 1-866-249-5325 and enter participant code 799514). An opportunity for public comment is scheduled for 1 p.m.
The Geese Control Task Force was created by Senate Bill 622 (passed by the 2009 Oregon State Legislature) to study ways to address agricultural crop losses created by current goose populations in different parts of the state. The Task Force will also be looking at aviation concerns as more geese use land by the state’s airports.
Members of the Geese Control Task Force include Senator Betsy Johnson (D, Scappoose), who sponsored SB 622, Representative Mike Schaufler (D, Happy Valley), private landowners that have experienced damage to their agricultural land by geese, the Department Head of Oregon State University’s Rangeland Ecology and Management program, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service migratory bird biologist, hunter representatives, and ODFW staff.
The number of geese wintering in Oregon has increased in the past few decades, as geese shifted from wintering in California to wintering in the Pacific Northwest, migrated out of California earlier in the year, or began using different parts of Oregon to stage before migrating. Geese can damage agricultural areas, particularly grass seed fields, and compete with livestock on pasture lands. The Willamette Valley and the Klamath Basin have the highest goose populations but growing numbers of geese are using Oregon coastal areas, too.
Two populations of Canada geese that winter in Oregon are of particular concern to wildlife managers. Cackling Canada geese are becoming very abundant in the Willamette Valley but remain an important food source for Native Alaskans’ subsistence harvest. Dusky Canada geese are also of concern because their numbers have been on a long-term decline for years. Goose hunting in northwest Oregon, which includes the Willamette Valley and northern coastal areas, is complex and restrictive in order to conserve dusky Canada geese.
Currently, wildlife managers use a variety of methods to reduce goose damage including sport hunting, encouraging geese to remain on federal wildlife refuges and state wildlife areas, hazing geese, and destroying the eggs of resident Canada geese.
Canada geese are migratory birds and protected by state, federal and international law. Management of migratory birds is a cooperative program through the Pacific Flyway Council, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the lead manager because of federal treaties with Russia, Japan, Canada and Mexico.
The next Geese Control Task Force is scheduled for May 12, also at ODFW Headquarters in Salem.