Fridley may take steps to curb goose problems

By Tim
Spielman
Associate Editor

Fridley, Minn. — Officials in the metropolitan city of Fridley
are afraid their residents may be just a bit too friendly when it
comes to geese and ducks. Incessant feeding of the waterfowl has
made the feathered critters congregate in public areas, leaving
behind a maze of droppings, along with the litter geese and ducks
don’t pick up, officials say.

In an effort to reduce these problems, the city council is
considering legislation to make feeding ducks and geese in the city
a misdemeanor.

“We’re trying to take a proactive stance,” said Scott Lund, the
city’s mayor.

Lund said city officials have, for some time, encouraged people
not to feed the waterfowl.

“Some people think it’s foolish legislation; what’s foolish is
that we have to go to this level,” he said.

Lund said there’s been garbage left behind in parks, there are
too many geese gathering in certain areas, and goose feces covers
local soccer fields and beaches. The beach at Moore Lake Park and
Beach is one of the more obvious examples. There, Lund said, “We’ve
had to close the beach every year for several years because of
bacteria levels. (The goose feces) is not the only cause … but it
adds to the problem.

“(Moore Lake park) was becoming a dumping ground,” he said.
“It’s not good for users, and ducks and geese were becoming
dependent on (the food items).”

Originally, city staff suggested that duck and goose feeding be
made illegal on both private and public property according to Lund.
However, he said, “It’s hard to believe the city council would
approve that restriction on private land.”

But there still might be a catch, says Julie Jones, the city’s
planning coordinator. Residents who are feeding and therefore
concentrating geese – to the detriment of neighboring property –
could be cited for a public nuisance violation.

Jones said while she was unaware if other metro cities had
restrictions on the feeding of waterfowl, the city’s parks director
said such restrictions weren’t uncommon.

The potential action against goose feeding – along with a host
of other proposed actions, including stream buffers and building
limitations – are part of the city of Fridley’s effort to improve
water quality and reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that
enters waterways in the city, specifically Springbrook Creek, which
eventually drains into the Mississippi River, Jones said.

A portion of the effort, is based on a state mandate that came
when the city received a $750,000 Clean Water Partnership Grant
from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The city is required
to have in place a “shoreland overlay ordinance” that guides
development along waters. The cities of Spring Lake Park, Blaine,
and Coon Rapids also were included in the process of cleaning up
Springbrook Creek.

Lund said before steps were made to improve – and decrease –
runoff into the creek, which runs into and out of the 127-acre
Springbrook Nature Center, a lot of “bounce,” or changes in water
level, was killing much of the surrounding vegetation. As part of
the grant, Fridley officials were asked to review aspects of water
protection and how protection could be enhanced.

In order to better protect the shorelines in the city, officials
had proposed establishing shoreline buffers on private property.
Lund said he doesn’t expect the city will pass legislation making
shoreline buffers a requirement.

“That legislation has some merit, but again, there’s too much
regulation,” he said.

Lund said he believes city residents who live along waterways
tend to take care not to negatively affect the waters because
they’re “part of their investment.”

Buffer requirements might further be complicated by city rules
regarding the mowing of one’s lawn, according to Jones. Any buffer
requirement would be added to the current “weed ordinance,” which
in the future will be known as the “landscape maintenance
ordinance,” she said. That ordinance likely will set parameters for
native vegetation landscaping, should residents choose to plant
those species.

Rules regarding “impervious surfaces” also remain in
question.

Lund said he sees value in some shoreline protection proposals,
but doesn’t want to attempt to solve one problem by creating
another.

“I don’t want everybody’s property along shorelines to
immediately lose value,” he said.

Lund expects the city council to act on the water protection
measures, once finalized, this month.

Categories: Hunting News

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