DANNEMORA - The town of Dannemora is already preparing for this summer's opening of Chazy Lake Beach, but traditional beachgoers aren't what is on the minds of town council members.
During the most recent town council meeting, elected officials discussed an ever-growing problem with an increased goose population seen each year at the public beach off State Route 374. Councilwoman Deborah Coryer said the goose population has grown "exponentially" in recent years, with anywhere from 75 to 100 geese found lounging along the waterfront and leaving behind defecation of epic proportions.
"Our lifeguards, their first duty is usually to get out the rakes and rake the area where the sand is and the grass where people would typically be ... cleaning the beach so it's usable," said Coryer. "It gets worse each year because the geese come and lay their eggs in that general vicinity and they might have 15 to 20 goslings that come back the next year."
If history is any indicator, said Coryer, the number of geese that could be seen upon the return of warmer weather this year could exceed the 100 mark.
"They are a problem," she said.
However, the issue is one the council isn't approaching without doing their homework, noted Coryer. Officials have already been in contact with environmental specialists on the matter, researching what, if anything, can be done to reduce the burden of a bird-filled beach.
"Not letting them multiply is one of the solutions," said Coryer, who said she was advised a process of "oiling" the eggs could be one way to limit the goose population.
Oiling consists of using a vegetable oil solution to coat eggs laid by the geese in order to prevent them from hatching.
"We've been told using vegetable oil is the best thing because it's not harmful to the environment and it's not something that [the geese] would smell and make them shy away from their nests," said Coryer. "It basically suffocates the shell and the geese will sit all summer on the eggs waiting for them to hatch."
The use of other chemicals or breaking the eggs would result in the geese simply laying more eggs, said Coryer.
"This way, they'll still sit on these eggs and instinctively feel like they can still hatch these eggs. And, when it gets late enough in the season, it reaches a point where they stop laying because it'll be too close to winter," she said.
The oiling process is just one method the council is examining to control the goose population, said Coryer. Previously, the town has sprayed another environmentally-safe solution on grass surrounding the beach that the birds find unappealing.
However, that has not completely solved the issue of nesting at the beach, said Coryer, adding the council hopes to have some sort of solution in place before the geese are expected to return in May.
"When we've talked about the geese problem in the past, we haven't gotten anyone saying we shouldn't [control the population] because they're so plentiful," said Coryer. "It's not like it's a bird that there's a chance of them becoming extinct."