The Capital Regional District (CRD) board has approved a new bylaw that aims to reduce the environmental impacts of Greater Victoria’s rapidly growing Canada goose population.
The Canada goose management service establishment bylaw was adopted at a CRD board meeting Wednesday (Feb. 8), after the board obtained elector assent through a regional alternative approval process which saw less than 10 per cent of registered voters submitting a response in opposition to the bylaw.
“The current population of non-migratory resident Canada geese are impacting farmland and degrading coastal ecosystems and waterways, public and private lands and increasing risk to public health across the region,” CRD board chair Colin Plant said in a news release.
“This Goose Management Service will allow us to coordinate our approach in dealing with this issue and reduce the impact of these geese on the region.”
Currently, Vancouver Island’s Canada goose population ranges from 10,000 to 15,000, with an estimated 3,500 to 7,000 birds over-wintering in the capital region. Survey data commissioned by the CRD from 2017 to 2021 also indicates that the population is roughly doubling every four years.
The growing population of geese, according to the CRD, has resulted in increasing ecological, economic and social impacts to agricultural and recreational lands, estuaries and wetlands.
The CRD said it intends to establish a regional Canada goose management working group, which will coordinate in its approach to mapping and monitoring, development of an egg addling program, coordination of provincial and federal permits and conducting strategic culls. The service is estimated to cost $237,000 this year.
First Nations, local governments, stewardship groups and key stakeholders, as well as other Vancouver Island regional districts impacted by the large goose population, will also be involved in the working group, according to the CRD.
The proposed service, with the budget to fund it approved by April, will be ongoing and assessed annually to measure its success.
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