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Wildlife: Geese in the District

Photo of Canada Geese

As part of the Wildlife Action Plan, DOEE and the National Park Service developed a Resident Goose Management Plan. Canada Geese are often perceived as a nuisance because they taint soil with their droppings, which makes park visits unpleasant and unhealthy due to bacteria and pathogens. Canada Geese are migratory birds, but many have adapted and become year-round residents creating a year-round problem. These resident geese are now over- populating the area due to an abundance of food and a lack of predators. Besides leaving dirty fecal matter on yards and parks, they destroy valuable wetlands by over-grazing beneficial wetland plants. For example, the District Department of the Environment has invested millions of dollars to reconstruct Kingman Lake (along the Anacostia River) and the vegetative plantings have been nearly destroyed by grazing geese. To successfully restore our local wetlands, DOEE will assist the National Park Service in enacting a Goose Management Plan for Anacostia Park.

Biologists monitor resident Canada Goose populations within Anacostia Park and perform egg-oiling control methods to halt egg reproduction and to control population numbers. Goose management efforts will directly improve water quality, and will indirectly benefit native plants and animal diversity. For example, the re-establishment of Wild Rice (Zizania aquatica), a native wetland plant along the Anacostia is expected to benefit the Sora (Porzana carolina), an aquatic bird listed as a species of greatest conservation need.

As you can see, the Wildlife Action Plan serves as guide for DOEE in conserving wildlife species. This places the District Department of the Environment in the unique position to serve as the premiere agency to educate, inspire, and encourage residents to conserve and protect wildlife species in our highly urban environments. The Plan can be viewed in its entirety on our website. It is a living document that will be updated and changed as technology improves. 

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