Story by A.J. Arias
The Greenwood Lake Commission unanimously voted on Wed., Feb. 27 to table a motion to their next meeting that would set up a one year moratorium on geese round ups on Greenwood Lake.
The Commission signed a contract with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) last month to work on geese control on the lake. The same contract is what led the USDA to conduct a round up and extermination of 206 Canadian geese last June.
The tabled motion came after the same motion failed during the Commission’s meeting on Wed. The vote on the original motion was six in favor, one against (NJ Co-Chair Paul Zarrillo) and one abstention (George Vurno). Zarrillo voted against the motion stating he didn’t think non-lethal methods would be effective on a lake the size of Greenwood Lake.
Bylaws Govern Failure of Vote
The motion failed because the Commission’s by-laws call for eight votes in favor in order for a motion to pass. Five commission members were absent from Wednesday’s meeting.
The ‘eight in favor rule’ is part of the Commission’s original by-laws, which were established in 2002 and were recently readopted in 2016. Moving forward, the Commission is re-examining the rule. This all comes after months of debate between residents of Greenwood Lake and the Commission regarding the proper method of dealing with the geese problem on Greenwood Lake. Both sides acknowledge that this is an ongoing issue.
Non-Lethal Solutions Discussed
The discussion began with a passionate and emotional testimony by Barbara Aarons of the Committee for Humane Geese Control (CHGC), who has been present at every meeting since last June’s round up and elimination of geese.
Aaron repeated her request that the Commission look into using non-lethal methods to deal with the geese problem.
Aarons and the CHGC have struck a deal with Village of Greenwood Lake Mayor Jesse Dwyer regarding the use of non-lethal methods for geese control.
Mayor Dwyer, who was present, outlined the agreement with the CHGC, which includes that municipal properties owned by the Village of Greenwood Lake cannot be used for the purpose of the killing of geese as long as the CHGC has an adequate amount of volunteers dedicated to controlling the geese using non-lethal methods this year.
The Commission’s motion to put a one year moratorium on geese round ups included a plan to look at the data next year to see if the CHGC and their volunteers were effective in their efforts to humanely control geese on the lake before they decide if lethal methods should be used again. The details regarding what is deemed as “effective geese control” will be decided at a later date.
Questions on Parameters, Effectiveness
Tensions grew incredibly high during the meeting after the Commission refused to answer some of the questions raised by the CHGC. The questions were mostly regarding the Commission’s contract with the USDA, which does not include parameters surrounding what is effective geese control or when lethal methods should be used.
Michele Shenker, of the CHGC, brought up a similar contract New York City has with the USDA. That contract includes a work plan called “Measurements of Accomplishments,” which measures the effectiveness of lethal methods when used. This data would determine if lethal methods should be used year after year. This portion is not in the Commission’s contract with the USDA.
Many Applaud Commission’s Efforts
The Commission’s efforts to tackle the geese problem have been commended by many attendees over the past few months. Marina owners and residents have been present at meetings and have encouraged the Commission to use lethal methods in controlling the geese problem.
Mayor Dwyer stated that he applauded the Commission’s efforts to tackle the geese problem on the lake. He said that he believes that the CHGC and their volunteers should be given a chance to work on geese control using non-lethal methods.
The next meeting of the Greenwood Lake Commission will be held on Wed., Mar. 27 at 7 p.m. at the West Milford Township Library, locateded at 1470 Union Valley Rd. in West Milford, NJ. The Commission will vote on the motion to put a one year moratorium on lethal methods of geese control in Greenwood Lake.