Goose waste issue around Loch Norse

Dung, crap, feces, manure, guano, poop; no matter what you call it, we all do it and the Canadian Goose produces five pounds of it a day, according to the Discovery Channel. Therein lies the problem with the geese population around Loch Norse.

Students, faculty and staff have been stepping over and walking around the many piles of goose droppings that dot the sidewalks around the lake, though not all of them mind the manure maze.

“I like the geese,” said Mark Moore, a junior finance major. “I think they’re cool.”

“They’re really not that big a deal to me,” said Nathanael Reis, a freshman, pre-engineering major.

Despite whether or not people see it as a problem, it is a sanitation issue, according to Bill Moulton, superintendent of horticulture, grounds and transportation at the university.

“They’re pretty to have around,” Moulton said. “But their droppings are not only unsightly, they’re dangerous for people to slip on and they’re also very unhealthy.”

Moulton has been working together with the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation to move the geese from the area and help find them a new home. Moulton said during June the geese were molting and unable to fly. During that time, it was easy to corral them into cages. The geese were then transported to areas around Mammoth Cave, but since that time new geese have arrived.

Efforts such as spraying a liquid called Flight Control onto the grass and putting flashing lights into the lake have been undertaken. Moulton said the Flight Control liquid is a Kool-Aid-like product that doesn’t harm anything but puts a taste on the grass that is unpleasant for the geese.

“I haven’t got down and tasted the grass to notice a difference, but there is evidence of it,” Moulton said with a chuckle.

According to Moulton, when new grass seed was planted, the geese started to eat it. After the seeds were sprayed with Flight Control, however, the geese stopped eating the new seed, evidence that the product was working.

Even though Moulton and his department’s efforts seemed successful, the geese are finding other sources of food on campus through the people.

“Students, faculty and staff have been seen feeding the geese,” Moulton said. “This is totally counteractive in all of our efforts. If that’s happening, we’re wasting our money with our liquid applications and our time spent cleaning up their droppings.”

Moulton said the wildlife service advised that starchy bread products aren’t good for the geese and they’re better off eating natural food they find on their own. Moulton insists the geese will not be harmed; they are just trying to make them uncomfortable so they move on to find other food sources. He said there are just too many for the area that we have.

“As much as we like how beautiful they are and having them around and being so close to them, they do cause a significant sanitation problem,” Moulton said. “I enjoy the geese also, they’re very pretty. But there are too many. Please don’t feed the geese.”