Increasing populations of Canada geese in the capital region are having significant impacts on estuary habitats, ecological reserves, recreational fields, beaches and lakes, and agricultural crops. This results in increasing pressure on local governments to take coordinated action.

Background

In June 2022, CRD staff were directed to develop a report outlining costs for a Canada Goose Management Service. Staff provided an Initiative Business Case that included the costs for this service in the provisional budget. The bylaw will be submitted for public approval.

The current Vancouver Island Canada goose population ranges from 10,000 to 15,000, with an estimated 3,500-7,000 birds over-wintering in the capital region. Data from banded birds confirms that Canada geese are moving between regions on Vancouver Island.

In the capital region, the Canada goose population had an annual growth rate of 16% from 1977-1997 (Christmas bird count), while survey data from 2017-2021 indicates the population is roughly doubling every 4.3 years.

The lack of a coordinated approach to managing goose populations across the region has resulted in moving geese and their associated impacts into new areas, continued expansion of nesting and over-wintering populations, and increasing ecological, economic and social impacts to agricultural and recreational lands, estuaries and wetlands. Stewardship groups report significant and ongoing damage to native ecosystems on nearshore islands and to important estuaries, while the farming community reports significant and ongoing agricultural and economic impacts from geese.

A regional Canada Goose Management Service would provide coordinated management of Canada goose populations and would include:

  • Monitoring, mapping and reporting on Canada Goose populations and their impacts.
  • Coordinating and establishing collaborative partnerships with municipalities, First Nations, large landowners, Peninsula and Area Agricultural Commission, other government agencies and stewardship groups to implement the CRD's Regional Canada Goose Management.
  • Facilitating the development and implementation of a communications strategy and public education program to support the management of Canada Goose populations.
  • Collaboration with other Vancouver Island regional districts, local governments and First Nations to reduce Canada Goose populations through the Vancouver Island Canada Goose Management Working Group.