42 residents took the survey.  Survey questions consisted of two types:  (1) short response, i.e., yes/no or a rating; (2) list responses.  The results for both types are summarized below.  The “raw” results for the list response questions are presented in Attachment 2 and Attachment 3.

Short Responses Results

1. The vast majority of the participants visit Harriman Circle Park.

2. About twice as many participants reported decreased enjoyment compared to no effect or increased enjoyment.

3. The large majority of participants supported the proposed management approach.

4. A majority of participants indicated they’d be likely to attend a neighborhood meeting to discuss geese management at Harriman Park.

List Responses Results

Has the increased geese population in the Harriman Park neighborhood area impacted you (positively or negatively) in any way? If yes, how? Note: You can list more than one answer.

Summary of Responses (Full list of responses is included in Attachment 2.)

The 32 responses were classified as positive (supportive of increased geese population), neutral, or negative (not supportive of increased geese population).  Results were:

            Positive             (7)      22%

            Neutral              (3)        9%

            Negative          (22)      69%

The results indicate significantly more negative responses than positive.

The most common negative impacts were:

The most common positive impacts listed were:

Please list any suggestions or concerns you have about the best management approach to geese population/biodiversity at Harriman Park as described in the cover letter.

Suggestions (from most frequent to least frequent):

Concerns regarding buffer approach:

Attachment 1:  Survey Information Letter

Dear Neighbor,

The BHNA needs your opinion.  The Canada goose population at Harriman Circle Park has been increasing significantly in spring and summer. We’d like to know how you feel about the best-management strategy proposed below to stabilize the size of the Canada Geese flock and encourage an increase in the numbers and types of songbirds, butterflies, and aquatic life in Harriman Park.

A Brief History

A Few Geese Facts

  1. An adult Canada goose eats up to four pounds of grass and drops two pounds of fecal matter a day.
  2. A Canada goose typically returns to its birth/nesting site every year.
  3. Many Canada geese no longer migrate.They become resident to an area once they nest and raise goslings. This creates problems when they are enticed to stay (being fed) and/or if the landscape meets their preferred conditions: wide-open areas of lush, freshly mowed lawns with unrestricted access to an open body of water.
  4. Established goose populations tend to increase by 20% a year.

Proposed Approach

The proposed management approach uses a passive way to restrict geese easy access to and from the pond:  allow a grassy meadow (10-14” height), 8-10 feet wide, to grow around pond’s margin.  Restricting easy access to and from the pond means fewer geese are drawn to the park.

The meadow can be enhanced by a narrow swath of native aquatic plants near the shore, such as sedges, bulrushes, etc.  The meadow and aquatic plants attract more songbirds and pollinators to the pond and create fish nurseries.

Take our short anonymous survey online at:  https://bit.ly/bhna-goose-survey

Take the survey by December 1, 2019.

It’s quick and easy . . . just takes a few minutes.

We’ll publish the results on the BHNA website, Facebook group, and email blast.

THANK YOU!

Questions?  Contact Mike Brezin, BHNA President, at:   mbrezin@comcast.net

Attachment 2:  Positive and Negative Impacts of Increased Geese Population

Has the increased geese population in the Harriman Park neighborhood area impacted you (positively or negatively) in any way? If yes, how? Note: You can list more than one answer.

32 responses

  1. 1) large amounts of feces in driveway 2) Geese disturbing garden plantings 3) large amounts of feces in the park itself limiting use with grankids 4) walking at ponds edge is risky business during nesting season as the geese are very aggressive

  2. Yes. Noise, goose poop, impeding traffic, aggressive behavior, etc.

  3. Yes, the poop is a terrible nuisance, and the geese are frighteningly aggressive to walkers, etc.

  4. The increase in the last several years has been a nuisance, mostly due to the large amounts of goose poop on the street and in the park grass.

  5. Yes, the park is not pleasant to use anymore due to the huge load of feces. The geese often come into my yard, and have eaten things I wish they wouldn't and pooped all over my driveway.

  6. Poop all over

  7. Yes, positively. I live on the Circle, and I like the geese. I did not and do not support the efforts of some neighbors to reduce the population. I am unhappy that we have only about a dozen geese on the pond now - a small number that does not warrant installing a barrier around the pond, which I strongly oppose.

  8. I love seeing the geese at the pond. I’ve seen parents bring their small children to see the geese, which may be their first encounter with wildlife. It is a very positive impact for our community.

  9. It has impacted me negatively as a walker and driver in the neighborhood and even close major roads like Blairstone.

  10. They detract from appeal of Harriman Park, partly because of the droppings; they reduce diversity of other bird life there.

  11. Moderately -- it becomes a problem walking the dogs around the park.

  12. Yes. Groups of geese now come into our yard and leave copious amounts of fecal matter behind.

  13. Yes, it's gross taking walks around and through the circle.

  14. goose poop in yard on Marston Road

  15. Yes, impacted us negatively. They wonder in our yard, depositing their poop, and cut through our yard back to Marston. It also makes us hesitate to walk the park area because of the poop. Also, even walking around the circle is sketchy.

  16. I enjoy seeing the geese.

  17. Negatively-its now unpleasant to walk or jog around the circle

  18. I live here because of my love for the pond and its wildlife. I love the geese as much as I love the herons and the hawks and the owls, not to even mention the river otter currently taking down the trees. It’s the loud City mowers that race around the park without consideration for the wildlife that have ruined the surrounding greenery. It’s my understanding that before the homes, there were cows roaming this as their pasture. In my opinion, if you don’t like the natural environment where you live, then you should move somewhere else.

  19. Yes. They have made walking in the park unpleasant due to the massive amount of their excrement and their aggressive behavior during nesting season. They block the street and have gotten into my front and back yards.

  20. The geese are a source of joy and make the park a more attractive spot.

  21. Positively. I grew up on Harriman Circle & the geese have always been a part of the park. This has been their home too & the park wouldn’t be the same without them.

  22. I’m not sure it has increased. It goes up and down throughout the year. If there has been an increase I haven’t noticed it.

  23. Negatively in that the road is actually "slippery" from droppings and we often run or bike around the pond. We also struggle to keep our dogs from trying to eat the droppings. We live on Armistead, and have seen flocks of geese "going for a stroll" almost get hit by cars going too fast down our busy street.

  24. Yes. In a negative way. There is a lot of goose poop on the road and I walk and ride my bike there and it is slippery. My dogs also try to eat the poop.

  25. Goose impact has been negative. Tons of goose pop everywhere by the pond and they walk across my yard leaving poop behind. It is foolish for people to feed the geese as they are nuisance and feeding is the number one cause.

  26. No

  27. We live on Harriman Circle and so look forward to the new baby geese every year. We always take pictures and enjoy this ongoing cycle of life right in front of our home. It makes us sick that so many of them have disappeared recently....we were never consulted before they mysteriously disappeared. AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. I walk daily and have to be very careful where I step because there is so much duck poop on the road and park where kids and adults play. Additionally, I don't live on Harriman Circle but the geese come up the street and use it as their popping ground and dig up the yard. I work very hard to keep my yard presentable and duck poop is not helping.

  29. Not really as my children have grown up. My children played on the lawns there when there wasn't so much goose poop all over the grassy areas.

  30. I have to watch for their poop on grass and street...slightly negative impact

  31. Yes. Geese on the road slow traffic

  32. Negative impact. The geese crap all over the road. Riding a bike or walking is impossible without stepping in goose crap.

Attachment 3:  Suggestions or Concerns About the Best Management Approach to Geese Population/Biodiversity at Harriman Park

Please list any suggestions or concerns you have about the best management approach to geese population/biodiversity at Harriman Park ad described in the cover letter.

31 responses

  1. Make environment less attractive for the geese to stay year round and STOP feeding them so they don’t become dependent on humans for food

  2. Feed geese to the hungering masses!

  3. Having read about the implementation of this process and the success of case studies applying this technique, I fully support using this approach to allow but limit geese and at the same time diversify the population of wildlife (especially the bird population) that visit the pond. However, reading about the method is no comparison with having lived in the area for over 25 years and visiting and enjoying the Harriman Pond Park when a vegetated boundary predominated the waters edge. I can say from my own experience that there was a much greater variety of wildlife visiting the pond, and yes occasionally a Canada goose or two.

  4. Promote NO feeding more strongly

  5. Remove the eggs from the nests. These geese are a nuisance.

  6. One concern would be what the vegetation might encourage as we're discouraging the geese. When the vegetation was heavy before the pond was dredged, there were regular reports of sightings and killing of moccasins (as in poisonous snakes) at the pond. If that's the case I'm sure someone could tell us what the likelihood of encouraging their return with the added vegetation might be. Another concern would be how this might hamper the kids coming to fish, and we have quite a few from the neighborhood. It would be nice to see that healthy activity continue. The no-feeding signs have definitely made an impact and I wouldn't mind giving them a full year or two to see if they keep the flock at a reasonable number (10--15). I understand they tend to come back to their birthplace, but if there isn't enough food might they move and procreate elsewhere? With the information currently provided, I would be in favor of giving the no-feeding signs a full year or more before making a decision to implement the vegetative buffer.

  7. I do support the proposed approach, but am skeptical that it will be sufficient to control the geese. I would support active measures, such as destruction of nests and eggs to eliminate them from the park. Resident goose populations are a historical anomaly and not worthy of any preservation efforts.

  8. It seem like a good idea. There are too many. I am particularly against feeding them. It is unnatural. I am getting a puppy soon and she may chase the geese away

  9. I strongly oppose the proposed barrier. I don't think we've ever had as many as 75 geese (50 is closer to the highest count), but I'd much rather have 75 geese than an unsightly barrier around the pond. Anyway, there are only 12 geese out there now. The population obviously expands and contracts without intervention. How many geese would the proponents of the barrier like to see on the pond? Zero? Count me out.

  10. If you build a barrier around the pond to restrict the geese then this barrier will also restrict the community’s ability to visually enjoy the pond. It may also adversely effect those who enjoy fishing at the pond. This grassy meadow may then become the habitat for rodents and snakes. I would rather see the geese and have a view of the pond.

  11. I would favor relocation of extra geese population

  12. I like the proposed solution, since not only does it discourage the geese, it also enhances habitat for other species.

  13. I think we should adopt best management practices as proposed

  14. Get rid of the geese, because the goose poop is a health hazard and we cannot enjoy the grassy area in the middle of the circle anymore.

  15. We support the proposed solution and think it could actually improve the aesthetics of the park. Coming from a farming background, I wonder if some type of harvesting could also be considered. I realize this could be too complicated and perhaps controversial. I wonder if one of the local farms would volunteer to humanely capture and harvest the surplus and either sell or donate the meat to food pantries or soup kitchens. I understand there are ways to cook them and ways to not. I do not think it should be open to anyone to come and hunt the geese for obvious reasons. There may be regulations against the harvesting of the geese? On the other hand, we enjoy the geese even when they are crossing the streets. It is heart-warming when our fellow Tallahasseans patiently, "make way for goslings." We live a few blocks from Harriman so we are minimally impacted. I certainly understand the trials of "too much of a good thing."

  16. Would not attend meeting because we are moving out of the neighborhood within the next 5 months. My understanding is that bread is harmful to geese. So, perhaps it should not be "OK" for children to feed them.

  17. Maybe we could have a one-time goose hunt for the youth in the neighborhood.

  18. I think a Christmas goose in every pot for residents of Harriman circle would be appropriate-or, even better have BHNA sell trapping licenses in coordination with FL Wildlife Commission and charge $250 per goose caught-limit catch to 20 birds-boost BHNA revenue by $5,000

  19. I imagine this vegetative barrier will encourage more snakes and rats, which will threaten the children and dogs who like to play around the park. Efforts to mess with Mother Nature rarely improve any situation and only result in more problems. As the letter noted, the increased population in the spring has already naturally declined. Please leave the pond alone. Let it be.

    • As I write this, there are 11 geese in the park. The number has been that way for two months. They are confined to the park. They stray into yards occasionally. The most I have counted is 40. If the number reached 75, which I have a hard time believing, it may have been for a day or two. There are generally 20 that stay throughout the year. I count them regularly. The 20 then decrease to around 10, which is where it is now. It is the same every year.

    • Living on a park carries with it the possibility that wildlife will frequent the spot. It isn't always convenient, sometimes there are coyotes, other times there are hawks whose feces are deposited on driveways. If you live on a park you take the bad with the good. You have to deal with window shaking fireworks that have increased in their breadth and scope, and scare your pets to such an extent that they must be medicated in advance. We have come to accept that it's part of the deal. But I cannot imagine the park without geese. They have been here longer than most residents. They come to this perfect urban environment because their habitats are being destroyed. They come here because they are safe. Harriman Park would be a sterile, stagnant pond filled with turtles without them.

    • Respectfully, this has become the quest of a handful of people who are bothered by the geese. At times, I feel it has bordered on obsessive. Shockingly, proposals have been floated to paint geese eggs. Out of respect for these neighbors, we have ceased feeding them. For whatever reason, the issue continues to be pushed. The park has been littered with coyote decoys. It has gotten out of hand, and continues notwithstanding the standard fluctuation in their numbers, now at 11. I have always felt our neighborhood is a tolerant one. We don't have gates, we accept dogs defecating on our lawns, we understand that some yards aren't perfectly manicured, we respect each others feelings about a variety of issues. The anti-geese crusade has caused me to question that assumption.

    • Children are frequently seen watching the geese with awe and enjoyment. The geese have NEVER been overly to the point that anyone has been attacked. Any reports to the contrary are based on a lack of objectivity.

    • I would have liked to have seen the letter and survey discuss the benefits of the geese. They eat unwanted bugs. They add to the biodiversity of the park, including the vegetation around the pond. And they are enjoyed by many. Those, and other benefits are wholly absent in the "History" and "Facts" section of the letter, leading me to conclude that the decision has been made. Those who do not like them will fire back vigorous survey responses. Most won't care enough about it, which will leave our Association leadership with the stilted belief that this is a problem worthy of action. It is not. Crime and the lack of a consistent police presence is what our Association should be focused on. Not this.

    • I hope those who feel like we do will respond and speak for these noble creatures. People stop and tell me all of the time how much they love the geese and hope they are left alone. Whether they have the courage or the time to let their views be known remains to be seen. What we do know is that the vocal anti-geese crowd will. Please do not accept their view as a majority view. If feeding has been halted, let's wait and see what happens. Let's see what nature does.

    • Finally, the cover letter also suggests the presence of the geese negatively impact other birds. That is not true from a biological perspective, or reality. The park is filled with other birds. The geese provide warning to those birds when the hawks are present.

    • I hope the Association will be balanced in its assessment and if the decision is made to reject the management approach has the courage to tell the crowd that has pushed this issue that the decision has been made to retain the status quo. Thanks in advance for your consideration of our opinion.

  20. I would say the 75 geese on one survey question is completely exaggerated. I have never seen that many here and while the number of geese may have increased, it has never been that high. Additionally, the vegetative buffer would ruin the beauty of the park and the incredible view of the pond. The park currently serves as a place for neighbors to come and enjoy time with each other but also time with nature. It functions as a home to both people and creation and to change that would be detrimental.

  21. It would be a shame to change Harriman Park. The view is unique and most neighborhoods would love to have such a setting. Let the geese be.

  22. I don't really have any. It sounds like the safest and most natural approach.

  23. I think you have a good plan. I can't attend a meeting due to my busy travel schedule.

  24. We have worked hard to reestablish a fish population at Harriman over the past few years so that neighborhood children can enjoy catch-and-release bass fishing right in their own neighborhood. The city has been mowing to the edge of the pond well before the geese. The main reason for the increase in the resident goose population is feeding (and some were feeding daily) more so than a lack of a buffer. I support trying the vegetative buffer as long as it is done in a way that still provides children sufficient access for fishing. Also hope that if the vegetative buffer is successful that it can be at least partially if not totally eliminated over time. People feeding geese is foolish as it discourages natural migration. If people want to feed geese they should pen a few at their house and keep them fed there where they won't create a public nuisance. Hope that people will please stop feeding geese!

  25. As long as the contraction of population is humane, I support the reductions.

  26. Do you live on Harriman Circle? Is this your park, your street? You should have NO interference regarding this matter if we, who live on the circle do. This is shameful and has been secretive. It makes us sick.

  27. I read that one city in the USA had the same problem as we do. They gathered the ducks...and fed the homeless with them. Sounds like a win-win to me! Remove the eggs before they hatch. The ducks return to where they are born.so geese population will continue to grow unless we stop them from hatching. Thank you for working on this problem.

  28. All ponds should have an edge that is not mowed regularly and that supports native vegetation. This protects the health of the water in the pond and the ground water and water that runs to Lake Lafayette and eventually to the coast.The vegetation provides habitat for native insects and other wildlife.

  29. prevent eggs from hatching to discourage goose population growth

  30. Just don’t want them harmed.

  31. I favor any method to limit the number of geese in this area.