Plan targets waterfowl nuisances

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You can't drive by Barker's Island in late summer without seeing them — hundreds of geese congregating along the waterfront.

It's what they leave behind that is a problem. Goose droppings in public places — parks, fishing piers, docks and beaches prompt citizen complaints and beach closures because of high bacteria levels.

Now the city is taking action to address the problems caused by geese and other waterfowl in the area.

The Superior City Council approved a five-pronged plan to address the nuisance Tuesday.

Under the plan:

* The city approved changes to the waterfowl hunting ordinance.

* Redefined hunting areas within the city limits.

* Plans to promote hunting of waterfowl.

* Prohibits feeding of waterfowl within 300 feet of any maintained park, recreation area or city-owned public property.

* Use of pyrotechnics — screamer sirens — the last week of August to move the birds away from public areas.

The recommendations were made in consultation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The Parks and Recreation Commission in late-July approved the recommendations.

The panel wanted more information before considering additional techniques such as egg-oiling as a method to control the population or rounding up the birds to relocate to a bird sanctuary, offer to food shelves for a fee or euthanize.

Councilor Jenny Van Sickle said she couldn't support a control method that involved oiling eggs, but supported the proposal before the Council.

Changes to the city's waterfowl including specifying the types of shot that can be used, redefining areas where hunting would be allowed.

The ordinance adds the Superior Municipal Forest within the waters of the Pokegama and St. Louis rivers, the waters of Grassy Point except within 200 yards of the U.S. Highway 2 bridge, and the waters off Hog Island. Hunting would still be prohibited within 200 yards of any house or building without permission of the owner or occupant.

Superior's Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director, Linda Cadotte, worked with the Superior Police Department to identify the additional hunting zones.

Maps and more information will be made available on the city's website, ci.superior.wi.us in time of the state's Canadian goose hunting season Sept. 1-Sept. 15.

The city is also implementing an ordinance to prohibit feeding of waterfowl within 300 feet of public spaces. It does permit feeding of songbirds and other backyard birds provided it doesn't create a nuisance or draw for rodents and other wild animals.

Fines for violating the new ordinance range from $50 for a first offense up $100 for a second offense and $250 for a third infraction within a calendar year.