A gaggle of geese have a new home as part of a relocation program to rid the lake of ongoing nuisance problems caused from the fowl congregating on the beaches.
The geese are believed to be a contributing factor to the water quality issues that have caused problems for the public beaches in the Lake of the Ozarks State Park for several years. The water quality issues have, at times, forced the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to close the beaches to the public.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Health Inspection Service partnered with the Missouri Department of Conservation and DNR to round up and relocate geese at Grand Glaize beach to Van Meter State Park, which does not have a public beach.
Geese produce large amounts of feces that can wash into the lake. The feces is believed to be a pollutant that has caused elevated levels of E. coli in water samples taken at the Lake of the Ozarks State Park Public Beaches.
The goal is to reduce the problems caused by the geese congregating on the beaches and depositing their droppings. The move was spearheaded by DNR in an attempt to resolve ongoing issues at the beaches, in particular the Grand Glaize Public Beach. Earlier this year, DNR announced they were going to hunt the geese during molting season when the adults can't fly. They had planned to give the meat to food banks for distribution to those in need. DNR later backed down from conducting the goose hunt.
According to DNR Communications Director Renee Bungart, although the roundup reduced the number of geese, there are still some left behind.
To deter those geese, the park staff is letting the grass grow longer around the beach area and posted signs discouraging the public from feeding the geese in an effort to make the environment less attractive.
It's too soon to tell if the remedies DNR has put in place will help.
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.