A frequent question from residents is why must waterfowl populations be controlled? There are different reasons by species. A brief explanation follows:
While Gulls are native to Michigan, their numbers are increasing due to a lack of predators and an ample supply of food. The number of gulls on the lake are artificially high due to the close proximity of the landfill. The high numbers of gulls present a series of problems:
- Their waste damages boat covers and creates unsanitary conditions on docks and swimming rafts.
- Their wastes contain high levels of nutrients which can significantly contribute to overall loading in the lake which in turn can accelerate weed and algae growth.
To better control and reduce numbers, the BWLA Board works in unison with the Pierson landfill in using scare tactics and lethal methods. Federal and State permits are obtained in order to perform these activities which are carried out in strict accordance with the permit regulations.
The Mute Swans on BWL are classified as an invasive species and the state of Michigan is aggressively trying to reduce their numbers. The estimated state population is in excess of 30,000 and the goal is to reduce the numbers to 2000. Mute swans are particularly drawn to BWL since it’s an excellent shallow feeding lake with good nesting sites. Mute Swans drive off native waterfowl and can be very aggressive towards people. The BWLA Board works closely with the Michigan DNR and the Federal Government in acquiring necessary permits as well as reporting population numbers. The U.S. Department of Wildlife and Interior is responsible for reduction efforts. It is still illegal to kill a swan without a permit and is subject to a severe penalty.
Geese are native to the area, but there are times that their population increases to the point where they can be a problem due to the large amount of waste, (grease), a single bird can generate in a day. While very unpleasant to step in, there are health and water quality concerns whenever the birds come together in large numbers. It is difficult to take direct action to control geese. To reduce their numbers, nest destruction and trapping can only be performed by a licensed individual or firm. Lethal methods are not allowed. The process to get a permit for these activities is cumbersome and very expensive.
If geese become a problem on your property, the best way to discourage them is putting up a simple fence separating the waterline and lawn. The fence only needs to be a few feet high.