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Rangeley's Canada goose population to be reduced due to health concerns

Residents say the number of Canada geese has grown so much that they've installed fences, used chemicals to deter them. Now the USDA is killing off around 100.

RANGELEY, Maine — Jamie Eastlack lives in Rangeley as a life-long resident but said issues surrounding Canada geese just started a few years ago.

"It can do some damage pretty quickly... The town beach has been through some problems in recent years," Eastlack said.

He's talking about the population of Canada geese increasing to the point where their poop is causing health concerns, according to Rangeley town officials and the USDA.

Eastlack said he adopted his terrier, Wilson, as a deterrent for the geese, installed fences and tried out chemical sprays to keep the geese off his lawn.

"We fought it for 5 years and have tried thousands of dollars worth of chemicals, fences... sprinklers... it's a constant battle," Eastlack said. "They show up every year and it just seems like they're a bit of a nuisance."

Another lifelong resident, Alice Smith, told NEWS CENTER Maine the increasing goose population worries her about childrens' safety.

"This is a vacation area, this is all we have as far as supporting the town. So, yes indeed, I think it's important for our vacationers and for the local folks," Smith said. "I would consider it an issue for the children, for the guests in town."

NEWS CENTER Maine did not see a single Canada goose during reporting Thursday, though neighbors report the flock travels in groups up to 50.

This may be because the USDA has already euthanized a lot of the population residents were planning on.

Out of 93 geese the USDA said lives in town, it removed 79, according to an email.

Due to increasing cases of avian flu, the USDA said the birds would be composted away from humans and wildlife, though no avian flu cases have been reported in Franklin County.

Without avian flu, the birds do pose another risk, according to biologist Brad Allen.

"Their feces carries E. coli, salmonella... stuff you don't want in your drinking water," Allen said.

Allen said the efforts to reduce the Canada geese population to more manageable numbers will be a years-long effort.

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