City of Elkhart creates Wildlife Coexistence Plan addressing geese concerns

NOW: City of Elkhart creates Wildlife Coexistence Plan addressing geese concerns

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ELKHART, Ind. --- You see them blocking traffic, honking loudly, and taking over green spaces — all while leaving behind a foul-smelling mess.

Canadian geese are the unwanted neighbors Elkhart residents never asked for.

“I was attacked by a goose last Saturday when I was walking along the riverbend. This is the 3rd time I’ve had a run in with this one goose. This time it actually dive bombed me and hit me in the head," said Michael Timmons, a resident.

Flocking together the geese have been a problem for years — prompting thousands of phone calls to the mayor’s office.

Hoping to keep the peace, the city is creating a wildlife coexistence plan.

It kicks off with educating residents through public forums, featuring speakers from the Environmental Center and DNR, like this one Tuesday night.

“There are all sorts of different, whether it’s myths or you know ways to handle geese that have been passed down that maybe aren’t effective. And some of those aren’t actually legal," said Corrine Straight, Director of Communications for the City of Elkhart.

Geese are state and federally protected and begin nesting between early March and late May.

Straight says the city has already begun deterring processes to move them out of hotspot areas, like Central Park.

“One that we’ve used over the past couple of years has been treating the grass in areas that we don’t want them to be with a grape seed oil compound. That did seem to work. It’s not harmful it’s not toxic they just don’t like it, so they avoid that area," said Straight.

Making small changes like this, the city says residents can’t expect the plan to work overnight, but it’s all in good faith to ensure a blended coexistence.

One resident's hope will adapt as time passes.

“They’re very smart. They’re hard to continually keep off cause they adapt, and they learn what you’re doing and so you gotta keep changing your methods," said Mike Gingrich, a resident.

The mayors office says the best way to submit your concerns over any geese related issues is through the MyElkhart311 app.

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