Swan Control Debate on Greenwood Lake 

News & Updates

By A.J. Arias


Before the end of the Greenwood Lake Commission meeting on Wed., Sept. 23, former co-chair Paul Zarrillo read a statement in regard to multiple threats the Commission has received relating to their handling of a swan situation on the lake. 

Zarrillo called the threats “ridiculous” and blamed the Committee for Humane Geese Control (CHGC) for the hysteria surrounding the situation regarding the swans, which led to an environment that brought the threats. 

The situation arose earlier in the summer when two male swans reportedly showed aggressive behavior to jet skiers on the New Jersey end of the lake near Fox Island. It is believed that the density of visitors to the lake over the summer along with the swans protecting their newly hatched cygnets led to the aggressive confrontations. 

These incidences were brought up last month during the Commission’s monthly reports and included a story of an elderly woman and her grandkids being attacked by the swans requiring the help of multiple boaters. 

Following protocol previously set in regard to waterfowl, the Commission reached out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate and make a determination as to the best course of action. This led to outrage by members of the CHGC, a group formed in 2018 after the commission hired the USDA to kill approximately 200 geese on Greenwood Lake as a way to control the large population at that time. 

The Committee reached out to their allies, including large national and international organizations, for assistance to protect the swans from the USDA. This led to the threats to the Commission that poured in from around the world in protest.

The USDA did come to Greenwood Lake to assess the aggressiveness of the swans and to make their recommendation. Their findings, outlined in a letter to the commission and shared with the public, determined that the swans showed no signs of aggressiveness, not even when passed by jet skis and boats. This led to a USDA recommendation that removing the swans was not necessary.

Despite a favorable result, tensions remain high between the CHGC and the Commission who have been going back and forth on the proper way to deal with waterfowl since 2018.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Greenwood Lake Commission will take place on a Zoom Conference call on Wed., Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. Check the Greenwood Lake Commission’s website for additional meeting details at www.GWLC.org.

Photo provided

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has determined that, despite complaints, the swans on Greenwood Lake are not aggressive & no measures are necessary to remove them from the lake.

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