Mary Closner alerted me to the new signs on the signs along the Sesqui Plaza.
The City of Northfield’s ‘No feeding of wildlife’ signs appear to have made a huge difference in preventing the Canada geese from defecating all over the Plaza. (I was going to say ‘shitting’ but decided I’ve been too fowl-mouthed lately. Take that, John George!)
Exactly one year ago yesterday, I blogged about the lack of progress in the City’s effort to control the problem of Canada geese shitting in Ames Park, Riverside Park, Babcock Park, and Sesquicentennial Plaza. I suggested a solution (Border Collies), other suggestions emerged in the discussion thread, and the Northfield News drew attention to the problem with an article, editorial, and letters to the editor.
But as you can see from these photos of Riverside Park this week, the problem is worse than ever. Are condo owners at Village on the Cannon pissed? Not only are the geese spoiling their ‘front yard’ and adjacent walking trails, they are likely hurting the sales of condos. Ironically, on their association’s home page, they feature a photo of the geese on the Cannon River. Oy.
It’s just as bad in Ames Park and in and around the Peggy Prowe Pedestrian Bridge in Babcock Park. It’s especially bad on Sesquicentennial Legacy Plaza. I wonder if Ray ‘Jake’ Jacobson knows what the geese are doing to the granite pavers surrounding his ‘Harvest’ sculpture?
I waved Northfield Park and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) chair Nathan Knutson over to my corner office at GBM yesterday and told him I had just taken photos of the problem. He said the issue came up at the PRAB retreat recently and that they were considering what to do. I don’t see anything about it their recent minutes and agendas but I hope this blog post will help focus attention on the problem.
And then in April, I took this photo of workers removing the fencing along the west side of the Cannon River in Ames Park. I sent this email to City Engineer Katy Gehler-Hess:
Hi Katy, I see the fencing along the Cannon River downtown was removed this morning. The plantings didn’t grow? What’s plan B??
I never got a reply but she evidently forwarded my email to Street/Park Supervisor T.J. Heinricy who wrote:
The fence in Ames park was removed per the recommendation of Bonestroo Inc. They were the contractor hired to do the install. I asked them this Spring about the fence removal. The gentleman that did the install did a very detailed inspection. The planting’s are doing just fine and are thriving. That was their assessment.
I took these photos last night. The geese use the canoe ramps and the bank next to the Ames Mill fence that’s not city property to enter and exit the river. And the plantings are NOT thriving everywhere as Bonestroo contended. There are many spots that look like this:
City Administrator Joel Walinski said it will take time to see the full effect of the new shoreline, which looks much better than it did two years ago, he said.
Border Collies (BC) are specially trained herding dogs that are extremely effective for keeping geese out of areas where they are considered a problem. Border collies are the method of choice for large open areas such as golf courses, airports, parks, school ground recreation fields, corporate parks, etc.
Results are immediate. Usually requires aggressive initial use (several times a day for 1-2 weeks) until geese get tired of being hassled and stay away. While the wolf-like gaze of Border Collies is incredibly frightening to geese, these dogs will not harm them or children.
I noticed the setting sun reflecting off the clock at the top of the McGuire Building last week. Viewing from Ames Park, it lit up the water in the Cannon River in front of the Harvest sculpture on the Sesquicentennial Plaza.