Geese forage near the Greenbelt in the Riverfront Park area on Friday. Photo by David Grace.
KINGSPORT — The city of Kingsport is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in another attempt to reduce the future population of Canada geese along the Holston River.
For years, the geese have lived and bred along the Riverfront Park area of town, and as a result goose droppings litter the Greenbelt, making it not only a health concern, but a challenge for pedestrians and bicyclists to navigate cleanly.
In the past, attempts have been made to help solve the problem in a humane manner, given the birds are protected in two ways. One is under the Federal Migratory Bird Act of 1918, which makes it illegal to harm or injure a goose and damage or move its eggs and nest without a federal permit.
The Model City is also a bird sanctuary, meaning feathered friends are protected.
In 1999, the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency helped relocate hundreds of geese to Middle Tennessee, but many came back. Border collies have been used to keep the geese from congregating in city parks, but the cost proved too high.
Kingsport has asked people not to feed the geese, eventually hanging signs advising people where the appropriate places are to feed them. Ronnie Hammonds, streets and sanitation manager, said crews have also allowed the grass and weeds to grow high around the banks of the river.For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday’s print edition or our expanded electronic edition.