Canada Geese Identified For Extermination At Beacon's Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park

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The City of Beacon has been contacted by the Air National Guard out of Stewart Air Force Base, requesting to remove an estimated 63 Canada geese from Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park in Beacon, just north of the Metro-North train station. (50 geese were mentioned during the Workshop Meeting to the City Council on 6/24/2019). The possible removal plan would exterminate them, then serve them as food at food banks. “Goose removal is part of their airport safety to prevent another US Airways Flight 1549 event,” according to a memorandum/proposal submitted by Beacon’s City Administrator, Anthony Ruggiero, MPA.

That flight event happened in 2009 in New York City, when pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided a plane into the Hudson River after a flock of geese flew into the engines. Geese are large flocking birds. “That’s why they present such a hazard to the flying aircraft,” said one of the presenters of the program during the Beacon meeting. It is estimated that there are 230,000 Canada geese now in New York state, and the New York State DEC has set 85,000 Canada geese as the preferred number.

Presenting this program were Kenneth E. Eggleston, Biological Science Technician with the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services; Ken Cruiser, Eastern District Supervisor with USDA Wildlife Services; and Lieutenant Colonel Cooper, Chief of Safety at Stewart International Guard Base and Instructional Pilot C17.

Councilperson Terry Nelson asked if this program was in response to a specific incident at Stewart. Lieutenant Colonel Cooper answered: “At Stewart, just with the military aircraft, we only fly about six times a week. We average a bird strike every month. Total cost to the Air Force since ’94 or ’95 has been about $580,000.”

Is Exterminating The Geese The Only Way To Remove Them?

Other methods to reduce the number of geese include rubbing the eggs with oil, which prevents air exchange to the embryo, thus ending the embryo’s life cycle.

According to the presenters, geese live an average of 26 years. Mating age for females is 3 years old. At that age, the female geese tend to return to the place they where they hatched, and lay their own eggs. A female Canada goose can birth 100 baby geese (goslings) in her lifetime.

Other methods in use include habitat management, like putting grid systems over the ponds at Stewart. Relocation of herded geese wasn’t recommended as an option, as the geese prefer to stay where they are, and are known to return to where they were born or had resided.

Councilperson Amber Grant asked for data as to the effectiveness of this deterrent. Non-lethal methods such as harassment by dogs, lasers, and pyrotechnical approaches pushes birds out three miles, which the presenters did not think would be enough. Councilperson Grant also asked about safety of consuming the birds, wild animals who have not had any kind of disease prevention. Presenter Ken answered that wild animals are known to be eaten by hunters and “others.”

Has Goose Removal Happened Elsewhere?

In a response to a question asked by Councilperson George Mansfield, other municipalities have exercised this removal method, but the presenters at the meeting would not disclose which municipalities, citing privacy.

Regarding Long Dock Park (just to the south of Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park), owned by Scenic Hudson, the presenters have reached out to Scenic Hudson and left messages, but Scenic Hudson has not returned their calls, according to the presenters.

Why Now To Take The Geese?

According to the presenters, now is the preferred time to round up the geese, as they are going through a “molting” phase, where they lose their primary flight feathers, essentially grounding them from flight for three weeks around the summer solstice. While the birds cannot fly, they are herded into a penned area, placed into poultry crates, and brought to facilities to exterminate and process them into food. Goose meat is then brought to food shelters in the region for people to eat as part of hot meals.

Prevention Of Geese, And The Outcome

Ongoing prevention of Canada geese at Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park was not discussed. There is a known problem of excessive amounts of goose poop at that park. Dogs on leashes are banned at Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park. Which is contrary to the allowance of dogs at other public parks in New York State and in New York City, where people are accustomed to bringing dogs on leashes. Dogs are allowed on leashes at Long Dock Park. While geese can pose problems to dogs when they are threatened, perhaps the consideration of leashed dogs can be entertained, at the very least, to curb some goose poop.

While most members of the City Council were not comfortable with the extermination, the decision would not need a resolution in order to move forward. (Translation: Councilpeople would not be voting on this; it would only need a signature on a form.) According to the City Manager, this program has not occurred in Beacon in years past, “to the best of my knowledge,” he responded by email to A Little Beacon Blog’s inquiry. But “the City Council was not in favor,” he responded by email.

UPDATE 6/25/2019: A Little Beacon Blog received confirmation the day after this proposal at the 6/24/2019 City Council Meeting that the proposal to exterminate the geese “will not move forward” according to City Manager Anthony Ruggiero. The City Manager has also confirmed that the geese are not pegged to be relocated. Such a relocation would need city approval, he said.

EDIT 6/25/19: In the first version of this article, this goose was referred to as “Canadian.” A reader wrote in to let us know that the bird is called the Canada goose. That word has been edited.

RELATED GEESE NEWS, 6/26/2019: Larchmont, down in Westchester, did participate in killing the geese near a pond, as reported by the Larchmont Loop. The business was contracted by private citizens and the municipality approved access to public property to carry out the taking of the geese.

New Summer Concert Unites Mental Health Resources With Community | Top Sponsor & Vendor Spots Available Now!

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The “Rock Out 4 Mental Health” flyer. Room for sponsor logos if you sign up in time!

The “Rock Out 4 Mental Health” flyer. Room for sponsor logos if you sign up in time!

When Brandon Lillard, a founding board member of I Am Beacon, and best known by Beacon High School alums as the original “Mr. Beacon High,” asked me to be part of the planning for I Am Beacon’s second major awareness project for mental health, the ”Rock Out 4 Mental Health” Concert on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park, I said yes immediately.

As a mother of young children, I want to make sure they have a safe space to express their minds. As a new mother in general, I see and experience the mental health challenges that any parent faces. As a person living in Beacon, I have learned from my friends involved in mental health support about challenges that any person can face at any time. Removing the stigma about that is important to me, and as a blogger, I want to improve awareness of mental health support services that are available locally. That’s part of why I started A Little Beacon Blog - to get the word out about what is happening and available here.

The planning for this event would be fast, but we could do it. I Am Beacon’s first outreach project for mental health awareness was and continues to be the yellow ribbons campaign on Main Street, carried out with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Mid-Hudson. You’ll be seeing those ribbons again this year.

Bringing Resources and People Closer Together Through Music

This concert was created as a vibrant and hopeful hub where people can get closer to organizations who provide a variety of mental health services. The aim is to bring these services to people who may not have otherwise known about them. Usually service events like this are at school functions on a random Wednesday night (I went to one!). Now, the whole family can come and enjoy being by the Hudson River rocking out to music, and getting to know these local services who have changed the lives of so many.

You’ll be rocking out to The Costellos, Noetic, Tony E., Dilson Hernandez, and Charge the Mound while your Co-MCs for the day, Reuben Simmons and Himali Pandya, Special Projects Manager for Astor Services for Children and Families, introduce you to the mental health resource providers who are available to meet during the day. (Insider scoop: Himali’s husband will be performing with his band at the concert)

Here’s Where Your Part Comes In

“Rock Out 4 Mental Health” is currently seeking the following sponsor and vendor opportunities, but time is limited. We will be putting sponsors on the flyer, then printing it and distributing it, so we need to know who’s in for sponsorship! My design agency, Katie James, Inc. and lead designer Allie Bopp designed the flyer, banner, logo and other branding assets, so I have a tiny say on when these go to print (but we can’t wait long!).

Title Sponsor: Only one spot available. The Title Sponsor gets their logo on the banner that will be hanging above Main Street as we get closer to the event, and on T-shirts. We can only print T-shirts if we have a title sponsor. Will your business be the reason we can make the shirts? Claim it here >
Must sign up within the week for print deadline!

Gold Sponsor: Only six available. These sponsors get their logos printed on the flyer, which will be distributed in Beacon and beyond. Logo also included on the event program. Claim it here >
Must sign up within the week for print deadline!

Silver Sponsor: More available, and includes logo on the event website. You have a bit more time on this one, since we are adding your logo to the “Rock Out 4 Mental Health” website. Claim it here >

Bronze Sponsor: Awesomeness. Great for businesses who want to show their support for Mental Health awareness and accessibility. Claim it here >

Vendor Opportunities: Food vendors are welcome, and businesses who provide a wellness-related product or service to people are invited to have a vendor spot down at Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park. Only 15-20 spots available. Food and business vendors can register here. Nonprofit organizations can have a spot for free and can register here.

These community projects are what keep Beacon enriched with the depth of community it is known for, and keep Beacon an ongoing advocate for people’s well-being.

Thank you to the following sponsors and vendors who have signed on so far!

VENDORS:

Astor Services for Children & Families
Children's Home of Poughkeepsie
NAMI Mid-Hudson
CoveCare Center
DC Dept of Behavioral & Community Health
People USA
Empire Concessions
I Am Beacon

SPONSORS:

KeyFood
Premier Medical Group
MidHudson Valley Federal Credit Union
HealthQuest
People USA


Why This Concert? Why Now?

When it comes to Mental Health, it is our belief that the Hudson Valley is ‘services-rich yet information-poor.’ Despite the valiant efforts of many organizations, there is a lack of awareness and knowledge which result in many in our community being left to suffer in silence.
— Mission Statement of Rock Out 4 Mental Health

One of the creators behind the event is Reuben Simmons, a founding board member of I Am Beacon, along with his sister, Brooke Simmons, and Brandon Lillard. Reuben grew up in Beacon, volunteering to clean up its streets in his youth, and co-created I Am Beacon to keep opportunities like this available to the people.

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Says Reuben of the inspiration to create the “Rock Out 4 Mental Health” concert: “After attending the City of Beacon’s Workshop in December 2018 which discussed the opioid crisis in our area, I felt an obligation as a community leader to do more. I have attended many conferences all over the country in my time as a labor leader, and heard the opioid crisis happening in many communities all over. Hearing the same issues from professionals like Beacon’s Police Chief and Dutchess County’s Behavior and Community Department at the workshop got me to start brainstorming on what could be done to help. Help promote services, help end the stigma, help educate people.”

Helpline For Everyone

“We hope to reach as many Dutchess County residents as possible to inform them about the many resources available for help and support. The Dutchess County Helpline and the Stabilization Center are available to residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is always someone available who can help,” says Jean-Marie Niebuhr, Prevention and Harm Reduction Coordinator.

If you take anything away from this event, or knowing about this event, know this: The Dutchess County Helpline. Available to anyone to use at any time, 24/7. Use it as an information center to find other resources: CALL or TEXT 845-485-9700.

Call or text any time to talk live to a qualified mental health professional. Regardless of the issue, the HELPLINE will provide counseling or link you to services.