Senator Wants Law Against Geese

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A New York senator wants the federal government to pass a law that would force the killing of Canada Geese that now use a wildlife preserve near JFK Airport and sometimes get in the way of the airport's aluminum and composite occupants. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., says her bill will end the turf wars between the Department of Agriculture, which would do the killing, and the National Parks Service, which has jurisdiction over the preserve. The law would require the killing to be done by Aug. 1. "We cannot sit back and wait for a catastrophe to occur before cutting though bureaucratic red tape between agencies," Gillibrand said. "We cannot and should not wait another day to act while public safety is at risk." There have been two recent bird strikes, one at JFK and another at Westchester County Airport, more than 30 miles away from the wildlife preserve.

Although there has been some expression of support for Gillibrand's bill, the consensus among wildlife experts appears to be that a goose cull won't really do much to reduce the likelihood of bird strikes, especially since there are dozens of species of birds that use the preserve. Don Riepe, who serves as the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge guardian and also sits on JFK's bird hazard task force, told the Queens Chronicle they already shoot birds and have also eliminated habitat and employed other means to mitigate the bird threat. "But you are not going to reduce the threat to zero," he said. Gillibrand's bill is buried in a farm bill that will be in front of Congress later this month.