Goose roundup ruffles feathers

by Aly De Angelus
Staff Writer | June 27, 2020 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — More than 100 of Sandpoint’s most notorious wildlife friends — the Canada Geese — were relocated to a piece of property owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services outside of Coeur d’Alene. City officials are hoping the absence of 127 geese will eliminate the smattering of goose droppings along the shoreline of City Beach.

City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton said it was a successful roundup in comparison to last year, where one goose was separated from the flock. This year the older geese were banded, leaving only 16 unbanded because of their smaller build.

“We are just going to have to monitor it over time and see how it works,” Stapleton said. “Last year we did monitor and track those numbers, so it was over a period of time of about six weeks before we really started to see geese return in significant numbers which significantly reduced the human goose conflict that we have down at the beach during our peak summer seasons.”

Police and community resource officers, wildlife officials and other residents of Bonner County attended the goose roundup, including local conservationist and author Jane Fritz. She arrived at City Beach around 4 a.m. when police also arrived on the scene. Unlike Stapleton, who said the capture was “a pretty calm roundup,” Fritz said the birds appeared to be in significant distress.

“It was overkill on the city’s response,” Fritz said. “They were fighting like hell. It was difficult to watch.”

Stapleton did not attend the roundup nor has the city done a full debrief of events but said: “Obviously the city has considered all sides and all of the factors. Over the years, the city has implemented a number of both remediation clean-up efforts as well as active prevention management efforts and the decision to recapture and relocate the geese was a decision that was made with wildlife officials ... All of that has been taken into consideration and been discussed in consultation with other agencies.”

Janice Jarzabek, another resident in attendance who opposed the relocation of the geese, agreed the event was chaotic. Jarzabek was pushed to the ground at the relocation event and is currently in the process of filing a police report to document the incident.

“It’s a true story,” she said. “It wasn’t good, I can tell you that.”

Jarzabek declined to elaborate on behalf of the advice of her legal counsel. Stapleton also did not reveal the identity of the person who allegedly pushed Jarzabek.

“I can say that there wasn’t an allegation about a city official and that is the only comment I can make at this time. Any of those issues would be under investigation with police,” Stapleton said.

According to Stapleton, city officials will meet Monday to go over how the event went and discuss other options, if the relocation plan proves unsuccessful.

Sandpoint originally proposed euthanization of this year’s returning geese, but their permit proposal was denied. However, 47 of the geese found at the June 25 roundup were already banded which signified possibilities of geese returning once again next year.

“We haven’t talked about next year at this point in time,” Stapleton said. “It’s a conversation with the city about what the situation is and ultimately what is in the best interest of the wildlife that limits the amount of human wildlife conflict.”

News editor Keith Kinnaird contributed to this report.

Aly De Angelus can be reached by email at adeangelus@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @AlyDailyBee.