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A Poopy Agenda for Cupertino City Council Tuesday

Pooped out dodging goose poop at parks in Cupertino? Now's the time to say so at the Cupertino City Council, starting at 6:45 p.m.

Poop: It’s up for discussion at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Not just poop in general, but the goose poop that’s been getting on the nerves of residents and one fed-up-with-feces councilmember, Rod Sinks.

“I want the staff to come up with a plan to take effective action against the geese and I want it within the month,” Sinks said at an August council meeting. “These geese are a nuisance and these geese are a hazard. It is disgraceful to have our children walking through goose poop.”

It’s been a topic at city meetings in the past, but nothing has been done about it; until now.

Goose poop is not limited to Cupertino and it’s picturesque parks such as Memorial Park where just this past weekend Sinks said there were complaints about goose poop from those who rented booths at the Diwali festival. Goose poop is a regional problem.

A Goose Summit held on Oct. 12 brought in representatives from other agencies such as Santa Clara Valley Water District, city agencies such as Mountain View, Los Gatos, San Jose, and Sunnyvale, to talk about best practices in managing the Canada geese populations that seem to be taking over community parks and other grassy areas.

Someone counted 262 Canada geese in Memorial Park one day, Sinks said.

“(Geese) poop between two and three pounds every day. Now multiply 262 by that and they’re putting over 500 pounds of lovely excrement all over the lawn,” he said.

Goose Summit yielded a number of solutions from utilizing trained dogs to harass the geese to using strobes to annoy the geese, according to Timm Borden, Cupertino’s director of public works.

The summit redirected the city in the way it was approaching the goose problem and the long-term solution will probably need to incorporate a variety of tactics, Borden said.

“We had a very good discussion, and we did learn about a lot of different things that have been tried. We’re adjusting a little bit from where we were (before Goose Summit),” Borden said.

The use of trained dogs and their handlers to chase away the geese is what Borden and his staff will recommend to the council as the first step in alleviating the goose problem. They will look more closely at other solutions being used at neighboring cities such as Campbell where lasers are being used to "bother" the geese into leaving the area.

Part of the future plan for Cupertino will be to incorporate a collaborative effort with the region. Moving geese out of Cupertino could solve Cupertino’s problem in the short term, but the geese will go somewhere, maybe Sunnyvale, Santa Clara or Saratoga for example, and then they could come back. So a long-term solution is to focus on how to get the geese to make their home in a more appropriate location for them, and us humans.

“The goal would be chase them back up to the Bay. It may take a while and a lot of effort,” Borden said. “But it will let us take back the parks.”

The item is up for discussion on the Cupertino City Council agenda for the Oct. 16 meeting that begins at 6:45 p.m. in Community Hall, next to Cupertino Library.

Editor's note: This article originally indicated the council meeting starts at 6 p.m. That is the time a closed session begins. The public meeting starts at 6:45 p.m. We apologize for any confusion.

Local Reader October 16, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I would like the city to replace the pond and some grass with a pretty path with native plants and a butterfly garden and benches. A timed low water use dancing fountain like at SF Museum of Natural History would entertain the kids but not have enough water for birds to sit in. Or... serve local grown cage free goose at the next festival!
Anne Ernst (Editor) October 16, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Local Reader: I take it you didn't enjoy dodging the goose poop at Diwali? Are you going to voice your opinion at tonight's meeting?
Local Reader October 16, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Oh sorry I've learned it isn't worth wasting my time, council has already decided they want to spend money on goose repellant. Someone clearly wants to keep the outdated ponds, and like so much of what council approves, how much power and money that "someone" has trumps any opinion from us little guys. Have fun though.
Anne Ernst (Editor) October 16, 2012 at 09:30 PM
But wait, if you don't go to the meeting or call your representatives, how do you know they won't listen to us little guys? Speak out!

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