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Galesburg council against geese charity harvest

Geese on the water at Lake Storey in Galesburg.
Jane Carlson
Tri States Public Radio
Canada Geese on the water at Lake Storey in Galesburg.

The Galesburg city council shot down an idea to harvest geese on the north edge of town and donate the meat to food banks.

The Giant Canada Goose was considered extinct in the 1950s, but in recent years the subspecies' population has grown significantly in some areas, including Galesburg.

City leaders estimate there are at least 200 of the geese at Lincoln Park, Lake Storey Park, and Bunker Links Golf Course.

Giant Canada Geese can weigh up to 15 pounds, live up to 25 years, and they no longer migrate for the most part.

The main issue in Galesburg is the accumulation of feces and feathers, and water quality at the parks. The birds can also be aggressive.

One option to cull the population is a charity harvest, where the birds are professionally captured during molting season and slaughtered, with the meat being processed for donations to charitable organizations.

The program is affiliated with several government organizations including the USDA and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

It is the most effective way to drastically reduce the goose population this year.

But city council members are opposed to the idea, according to a straw poll at a recent work session.

Ward Six council member Sarah Davis said she’s interested in any option but a charity harvest.

“Because it feels like that is creating a lot of conflict and doesn’t reflect as well on our community,” Davis said. “I want to enjoy nature and I want other people to enjoy nature without excessive interference.”

Other council members said first they’d like to try treating eggs with oil so they don’t hatch.

That approach can be successful but takes years to show effects.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson is TSPR's regional reporter.