The Missouri Department of Natural Resources may be back-tracking on a plan to roundup and slaughter molting geese at Lake of the Ozarks State Park beaches.
Plans to roundup geese gathered on the beaches at Lake of the Ozarks State Park was announced last month. The roundup was aimed at reducing the number of geese in hopes that would eliminate large amounts of droppings from leeching into the lake.
Although DNR has not announced any details, it does appear that they are now considering other options.
DNR communications director Renee Bungart said the agency is taking a step back from their earlier decision to slaughter the geese and donate the meat to food pantries. Bungart did not say when there might be a decision.
DNR has said geese droppings are believed to be a cause of elevated levels of E. coli in water samples taken from Lake of the Ozarks State Park Public Beaches.
During molting season, adult geese lose their wing feathers and are unable to fly, making the geese easier to roundup.
The move to kill the geese came after several years of ongoing water quality issues at the state park beaches. However, it was never determined scientifically if the geese were a cause or contributor to the problem. So far this year, water quality testing for E.coli at the two public beaches in the state park has not indicated any significant problems.
The roundup was scheduled to begin in June.
Like all designated beaches in the state park system, water at the beaches is sampled weekly to ensure a safe public swimming area during the swimming season beginning at the end of May.
When bacteria levels, such as the levels for E. coli, surpass a certain level, the beaches are closed and warnings are posted to alert swimmers.
High bacteria levels often occur during rainy times when runoff from the surrounding area washes into the coves where the beaches are located. DNR believes the geese are part of the problem.
For the last three summers, closures due to elevated E. coli levels at the two public beaches have caused a perception that there is an ongoing water quality issue at the lake.
While there are isolated problems at the beaches, those do not have an impact on the overall water quality of the lake.
Coyote decoys were employed as a means of intimidating the geese. Those failed. The snarling decoys that weren't stolen did nothing to cause the geese to flee the beaches.
State park rangers have used noise to scare off the geese by firing different “shells” — some make a gun-like sound and others more like a whistle. While there has been some decrease in the number of geese, it hasn't been enough to eliminate concerns about the waste the geese leave on the beach.
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