The geese are back in Collins Park, and there may be a long road ahead for the Scotia village board and the Save the Geese group of volunteers.
The unseasonably warm weather has made for a park full of Canada geese that are more than leaving their mark, from the eaten-down grass to goose droppings across the park.
With a new mayor, Democratic Kris Kastberg, and two new trustees, Democrat Joe Rizzo and Republican Tom Neals, the New Year began with a discussion about the continued problem of too many geese in Collins Park.
The board planned to meet with Save the Geese volunteers at the Wednesday, Jan. 10 meeting to discuss this year's hazing plan.
After a long battle last year, the group of volunteers convinced the board that hazing not euthanasia was the answer to Canada geese overpopulation in the park. The numerous geese had left Collins Lake contaminated with the bacteria E. coli and had sparked concerns about avian-carried illnesses.
Last summer, volunteers from the group patrolled the lake and scared off flocks of the birds from the shore. The group was successful in keeping the goose population down for most of the summer, but some board members remain skeptical that Save the Geese has the manpower to once again haze the area continuously.
"It is my hope the hazing is both sustained and successful, but I also hope the current board has the courage to follow through and kill the geese if the volunteers fail in their promise," said trustee Armon Benny.
Benny said the board has set a limit of 30 geese allowed to reside in the park.
He said the U.S. Department of Conservation has recommended that the geese be allowed to mate in the area so the egg-addling program can be monitored and few goslings will be born. Egg-addling is a process in which monitors can "catch" the eggs before they are incubated, reducing the number of geese born.