If you’ve visited Crystal Lake Park recently, you’ve probably been exposed up-close to Canada geese. While Urbana Park District welcomes the geese in our park, there are simply too many populating Crystal Lake and they are creating hazards.
"Goose droppings are not only unpleasant, but present a health hazard," said Derek Liebert, Superintendent of Planning and Operations at Urbana Park District. "The birds get aggressive with people when they nest, damage the turf and landscape and lower the water quality," he added.
The Park District has used several methods to manage the goose population at Crystal Lake Park. Workers have tried spray repellents, fencing, coyote decoys, and a PETA/Humane Society approved and State of Illinois permitted nest management protocol. While effective, the geese keep flocking to Crystal Lake Park.
So this spring, Urbana Park District will add specially trained dogs to manage the geese. "We will use the dogs to chase geese away from the picnic terraces, boat docks, summer camp pavilions and frequently used trails," Liebert said. Trained border collies will look like predators to geese.
"In accordance with state and federal regulations, the dog will not be allowed to come into contact with the geese but rather will essentially herd the geese out of priority areas of the park. Both the trainer and the dog will be equipped with uniforms that identify them as working under park district agreement," Liebert explained. He asks that people do not engage with the dog or the trainer while they are chasing the geese.
Liebert also suggests you not to use your own dog to chase geese. "This service is being performed according to carefully developed humane and wildlife management best practices and by a specially trained border collie while under the supervision of a certified trainer," he added.
Additionally, Park District employees have received training in the use of green laser pointers to disturb the geese and discourage the birds from frequenting areas like the boat rental docks.
If people have any questions about this project, they can call Liebert at (217) 344-9583.
“We love it when people enjoy nature at Crystal Lake Park. We just need to work towards getting the goose population back in balance,” Liebert concluded.