Agriculture

Sharing the Planet

Canada Geese. Used to be they migrated south. Now? Not so much. They hang around and poop on beaches and … eyew. Up here in Vernon, they also hang around in orchards and fields …

P1200534Canada Geese at Home in the Orchard and U-Pick Tomato Patch

The mottled look of the snow is just what it looks like: goose tracks.That’s a lot of geese!

There’s a valley wide program to control geese. It does so by sending volunteers out to goose nests to shake their eggs. You can read up on it all (and see some fine pictures of geese attempting to take over the world) here. As the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Plan writers point out:

 The resident geese targeted by the program were specifically introduced in [the] 60’s and 70’s.  The prevalence of good habitat and lack of predators permits this non-native population to out of proportion with its environment.

By environment is meant human comfort.

• To maintain a naturally sustainable level of resident geese in the Okanagan • Valley to minimize the risk to human health and safety.

But I do have to ask: if humans fill in wetlands (they are nearly all gone) and occupy nearly all lowland areas … what is a goose to do? Which takes me back to my orchard in Okanagan Landing. Let’s look at it again:

harvestsOur Goose Orchard and Field in October

Notice the apples discarded under the trees and the tons of tomatoes discarded in the fields.

Let’s see if I have this right:

humans take the wetlands away, move the water destined for the wetlands up onto the hills, grow good food using petrochemical fertilizers, leave tons of that food to rot there in the fall, then, when geese come and eat the unwanted food (representing their lost wetlands, really), repairing the broken ecosystem, and leave behind valuable organic nutrients, enriching the fields,

humans, worried about geese using their native habitat (beaches) coddle the eggs of the geese so that they do not reproduce?

P1180451

Canada Goose Who Should Be Given a Tomato Field (Peachland Beach)

Note the poop. Rough on tourism and health management, really.

Wouldn’t it just be easier to make the fields more attractive, with water and grass and everything good and joyous, and benefit from the free manure the geese provide? Wouldn’t that be better than petrochemicals and habitat theft and all that? Wouldn’t that be the the way to work with the planet?

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