Over the past few decades, Canada goose populations have increased rapidly across North America. While these iconic birds provide recreational opportunities and environmental benefits, overabundant goose flocks can also cause significant problems for businesses.
As an entrepreneurship consultant who assists small business owners and managers, I‘ve seen first-hand the challenges geese can create. But I‘ve also witnessed how proactive solutions can minimize detrimental impacts while sustaining positive ones.
Below I‘ll analyze the key pros and cons of Canada geese for small businesses, along with tips for effectively balancing goose conservation and control.
The Good: Benefits for Business
When present in moderate numbers, Canada geese can enrich local environments and economies:
- Recreation Revenue – Goose hunting, birdwatching tourism, and wildlife photography generate business for sporting goods stores, guides/outfitters, hotels, and more.
- Aesthetic Value – Many customers enjoy seeing geese and appreciate businesses that incorporate wildlife areas. This can provide a competitive edge.
- Environmental Benefits – Goose droppings fertilize soils. Geese contribute to biodiversity as prey for other wildlife.
"The Canada goose hunters visiting our community each year are a significant source of tourism income," says Jane Dallas, owner of Lakeview Lodge.
The Bad: Problems for Business
Rapidly growing goose populations often create three main headaches for small businesses:
1. Property and Landscape Damage
- Droppings and grazing ruin turf at parks, golf courses, and other facilities. Reseeding and clean-up is frustrating and expensive.
- Geese can damage landscaping at retail centers, hotels, restaurants, and offices – an eyesore that turns off customers.
2. Health and Safety Concerns
- Slipping hazards from goose droppings cause injuries, especially at parks and playgrounds. This raises liability risks.
- Geese may transmit diseases like avian flu. Goose waste pollutes waterways, creating environmental and health issues.
3. Lost Revenue
- Grazing and trampling by geese reduces agricultural crop yields, harming farm incomes.
- Some parks/beaches close occasionally due to too many geese, losing visitor revenue.
Balancing Geese in Your Business Plan
The key is managing goose populations at levels that minimize damage, while sustaining ecological and recreational benefits. Some tips:
- Learn your legal options for goose deterrence and population control from state wildlife agencies.
- Represent business interests when your community develops goose management plans.
- Modify habitats to discourage geese from frequenting your property (e.g. allowing tall grass near water).
- Use deterrents appropriately – dogs, noisemakers, decoys, barriers, etc. Combine multiple methods for best results.
- If geese still cause excessive problems, advocate for carefully-monitored lethal control programs that will stabilize populations.
"It‘s about coexistence and prevention," says Dr. Jeff Black, wildlife biologist. "With some effort, businesses can reap the perks of geese and avoid most pitfalls."
Achieving Balance is Key
Canada geese provide aesthetic, environmental, and recreational value that benefit many businesses. But overly abundant flocks can also impose costs due to property damage, health/safety issues lost revenue.
With research, planning, and investment in deterrence and habitat modification, entrepreneurs can optimize positive impacts while minimizing harm. Representing business interests in community goose management is crucial.
By taking proactive steps to stabilize goose populations and prevent conflicts, small businesses can prosper alongside these iconic birds. The solutions are out there – with some effort, responsible coexistence is possible.