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Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

Brown says method to thin out geese working

Saturday, April 13, 2013

(Photo)
The Walker Park pond is shown Friday afternoon. The city of Blytheville has thinned out the geese that once heavily-populated the pond.
To say Blytheville Parks and Recreation Director Elroy Brown is satisfied with the results of the "Away With Geese" devices would be an understatement.

Brown said the four devices, installed in January and February, have shooed away most of the geese at the Walker Park pond.

Brown estimates 50-75 percent have moved on to a different location.

He noted that the company advertises its product as dramatically decreasing the geese population over the course of one or two seasons.

"I think we're ahead of schedule," Brown said. "They have worked amazingly. You can walk down the sidewalk (without stepping in geese feces)."

Brown said some initial skeptics are beginning to see that the "Away With Geese" product does work.

The other day, a man told Brown that he doubted the devices, but now believes they have done a tremendous job.

Brown said the method is a humane way of resolving the problem.

The units are solar-powered and emit an amber colored light that disrupts the sleeping pattern of geese and ultimately encourages them to move to a new location.
"I can't say enough about them; they really work," Brown said. "It was trial and error and they work. One part of the management plan was to reduce the geese population and so we're right on schedule -- reduce the geese population, putting the aerator pumps out (in the Walker Park pond) and putting the Nile Tilapia fish (in the pond)."
He said the city is shopping around to find the best deal on the aerator pump and won't put the algae-eating fish in there until the pumps are installed.

In March, Brown gave the Parks and Recreation Committee a proposal from Cherry Valley, Ark.-based ECS House Industries Inc., which offered one Powdercoated Single Phase 10 horsepower floating brush aerator and control panel for $9,200. The aerator and control expense is $9,000 and the freight cost is $200.

That price doesn't include installation or start-up training and warranty certification.

Brown is working with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission on the plan.

"We're trying to get one that's cheaper, but we're also trying to do this in a timely manner so we won't have such a large fish kill," he said.

Brown noted without the aerators in place, the pond could see fish kills again, as it has the previous several summers.

"I know that we're in better shape than we were last year because the geese were part of the problem, and most of them are gone," Brown added.

He said one would be hard-pressed to find geese at the pond now.

"We've had a lot of positive comments about the thinning out of the geese and about the smell," Brown said. "It's noticeable that you can walk down the sidewalk and you don't have to dodge every other step. We're pretty thankful that the Away With Geese device does work."

Brown isn't sure where the geese migrated to, speculating that Mallard Lake might be one of their new locations.

"We know that they have left Walker Park," he said. "It was a cost-effective way to thin them out and a humane way. We didn't have to harm them in any way. Another thing is it was pretty cheap. We didn't have to man (the device), all we had to do is put it out there and it took care of itself. I'm happy that everything went as well as it has."

mbrasfield@couriernews.net

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