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Bonner County Daily Bee – Local News, Sandpoint’s unwanted …

Bonner County Daily Bee – Local News, Sandpoint’s unwanted …

This just in: The latest round of Kootenai County newcomers isn’t coming from California.

They’re a bunch of birdbrains from Sandpoint.

A gaggle of Canada geese — the species officially known as branta canadensis ­— from Sandpoint is being relocated to Coeur d’Alene after efforts to evict them from the Sandpoint City Beach have proved unsuccessful.

The city’s beach has no reliable predators such as coyotes, foxes or black bears to deter the 12- to 14-pound migratory birds, which leaves 1) the goose population almost totally unchecked, and 2) an awful mess that beach-goers would just as soon not smear on their sandals.

After considering goose-management plans in Bend, Ore., and Idaho Falls, Sandpoint city leaders discussed non-lethal options for the fowl, which take to the beach like, well, a duck to water. Federal officials and wildlife biologists decided relocation was the best alternative.

The crusade against the geese has been an epic struggle of man versus nature, and nature has pretty well smacked man around. Sandpoint has tried a number of methods to coax the geese from their beachfront perches to greener pastures. Alas: Geese are tough customers; the attempts to move them have proven futile.

The city has tried handlers with dogs in a bid to herd the geese.

That didn’t work.

Next, they took a page from the Coeur d’Alene playbook and installed coyote statues in an attempt to buffalo the geese.

No dice.

The city even went so far as to spend $50,000 on two pieces of equipment to sweep the grass and sand of the geese’s waste.

And you think your job’s tough?

After these efforts came up a big, fat goose egg, the Sandpoint City Council voted — unanimously — to relocate the bothersome birds southward. It turns out everyone wants a piece of Coeur d’Alene real estate.

Sandpoint City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton said her city has received a number of comments about the geese. The gist of the complaints: The geese are noisome, aggressive panhandlers.

And did we mention the poop? There’s — quite a lot. So much so that some local wags have taken to calling the otherwise handsome hamlet “Sandpoop.”

“There have been concerns expressed about whether enough intermediary measures have been tried, feeling the approach is too drastic and the geese should be allowed to remain,” Stapleton said. “Generally, there have been more complaints about the geese than complaints about the plan to relocate them.”

Idaho Department of Fish and Game communications manager Kiira Siitari said the geese from Sandpoint will have an identification band so they can be tracked and examined after their relocation.

“We don’t want the geese to just become a different city’s problem,” Siitari said.

Stapleton has the goose’s numbers: She said more than 300 geese per day were taking up prime beachfront locations. They will be relocating as many geese as possible.

The geese, which presumably will have to pay to park at Independence Point like everyone else, will be relocated to the Coeur d’Alene wildlife management area. That area, south of the city, abuts the Coeur d’Alene River and is owned by Idaho Fish and Game. Stapleton said the relocation was scheduled for today. Sandpoint city officials met with Wildlife Services yesterday evening to finalize the gaggle’s itinerary.

If the geese decide Coeur d’Alene isn’t to their liking and head back to their digs on Sandpoint City Beach, they face the grim prospect of euthanasia. Similar relocation efforts in southern Idaho have seen about 10 percent of the geese return, according to reporting in the Bonner County Daily Bee — good for neither goose nor gander. What can we say? Real estate’s a tough business.

Staff writer Andy Obermueller contributed to this report.


Transportation Services CEO Jonathan Cartu

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