City council votes to remove geese from Ladysmith parks

The Ladysmith Common Council voted 5-0, Monday, to approve of removing geese from O.J. Falge and Memorial parks in the city. 

The estimated cost of harvesting the geese and processing the bird carcasses for food pantry consumption is $3,800 to come from the city park department budget, an expenditure previously authorized by the park board.

The geese will be removed by the USDA Wildlife Services, which conducts round-ups in areas with nuisance flocks. The USDA requires final approval by a city council over a local park board before proceeding with these types of projects.

Many city officials and residents consider the geese a nuisance, especially the droppings they leave behind.

“This is an item that is going to upset some people,” Ald. Brian Groothousen said. “If we don’t remove them they are going to keep coming back year after year after year.”

Half of the cost will be for processing the geese after they are harvested.

The removal is expected to take place the last week of June, according to City Administrator Alan Christianson.

The population of resident Canada geese in Wisconsin has dramatically increased over the last few decades. Canada geese are large, adaptable and long-lived. They are productive and protective of nests and young. These traits often lead to conflicts with humans. As the population increases, so do the incidences of conflict. High concentrations of resident Canada geese can lead to landscape damage, decreased water quality, disruption of recreational activities and decreased aesthetics from abundant droppings. 

Nuisance management techniques call for:

— Not feeding Canada geese.

— Modifying habitat to make it less appealing to geese. Allow grass to grow longer or plant buffer strips of native vegetation around water bodies.

— Erecting fence barriers to make it difficult for geese to access water.

— Using scare tactics such as trained dogs, auditory calls, predator effigies, mylar flagging, pyrotechnics and human harassment.

— Using chemical repellents to deter geese from an area. A permit may be needed to use repellents.

— Destroying nests and eggs with a permit to decrease nesting success and aggressiveness.

— Conducting roundups by USDA Wildlife Services in areas with nuisance flocks.

“I am not sure how they are going to round them up or euthanize them,” Groothousen said.

Alds. Bill Morgan and Gerard Schueller were not at the meeting at the time of the decision.

Also Monday, the council announced this year’s fireworks  will be lit off by the Ladysmith Fire Department from the usual location across the Flambeau River from Memorial Park. City officials had been considering lighting them off from the Lindoo Avenue former school site to better allow interested persons to watch fireworks from their backyards if social distancing or from downtown if participating in Saturday events. Concerns were aired about fireworks already being lit off by the public, landing on structures and creating a fire risk. Fire Department officials believe it is safer to continue firing from the previous location as there are fewer homes, while the Lindoo Avenue school site has residences on all 4 sides.

Also Monday, the council, approved extending and combining street closure for Saturday, July 18, car show and craft show to include Miner Avenue from W. Third to E. Second streets and Worden Avenue from E. Third to E. Second streets for purposes of car show, craft show, possible food vendors and downtown live music in place of normal Mardi Gras Festival. The car show is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with a craft show 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Concerns were raised about outdoor alcohol consumption during the event, so open containers will only be allowed after 3 p.m.

In other matters, the council:

— Approved seeking bids to extend the rail cover over the two remaining cars on the Soo rail displace at a cost to Tax Incremental District 9. It is estimated to cost about $100,000 for the two cars.

— Approved having Morgan & Parmley proceed as proposed with mono-style roof design up to $6,000 for rail cover over the caboose and box car behind the Rusk County Visitors Center & Rail Display.

— Approved seeking bids for installing framework and power for double-sided Veterans/Famous Persons mural on west side of Fire Hall driveway. Famous people will go on one side and veterans on the other.

— Heard there will be a public hearing at 5:15 p.m., July 13, before the city council on the Ordinance 2020-03 Wellhead Protection Plan for Wells 5 and 6 as required by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

— Approved an estimate up to $1,500 from area resident Eric Ringstad to replace ramp and assorted carpentry work at the rail display.

— Approved Barriento “reimburseables” in the amount of $4,708 for design, bidding and construction administration of new public works shop at the former U.S. Reserve Center.

— Approved a bid of $3,242 Monarch Asphalt bid plus $450 from Rands Trucking to repave alley between W. Eighth Street N and W Ninth St N starting at Lake Avenue going north for about 140 feet at the same time the adjoining property owner is repaving their parking lot on the July 4 weekend.

— Approved a $852 annual bid for an elevator maintenance contract required by state to keep elevator certified at old elementary school on Lindoo Avenue. The city took ownership of the school on June 1 and are working with a private developer to convert the facility to workforce housing and a community center.

— Approved city hall carpet and chair cleaning by Bob’s Carpet Cleaning up to $1,500 to be reimbursed by CARES Act grant to include discussion and possible additional action on setting up a yearly or bi-yearly scheduled clean.

— Approved seeking proposals to correct issues on various city owned buildings occupied by industrial tenants including repair or replacement of bathroom exhaust fan, replace broken toilet seats and raising ground mounted air conditioning unit or providing screening to keep it from being hit by yard debris.

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