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Northeast Queens activists said they were upset to find out Canada geese had recently been removed by a federal agency from Oakland Lake in Bayside and gassed following the crash landing of a U.S. Airways flight on the Hudson River earlier this year.
City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said he wrote a letter this month to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to inquire why the birds had been removed from the lake, arguing the method was ineffective.
“This is not going to solve the problem,” Avella said. “These are migratory birds, so they’ll be back.”
The councilman said a large number of constituents had contacted his office to complain about the disappearance of the birds. Avella said he believed the measures taken were “far too extreme” and questioned whether alternative options were discussed.
In a letter to the councilman, Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler said the city’s Canada geese population was estimated at 25,000 birds. He said the decision to kill birds within five miles of LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A city Parks Department spokeswoman said the USDA was responsible for removing the birds.
Susan Seinfeld, district manager for Community Board 11, said the board had not been notified about the geese being taken away.
Bayside environmental activists said they believed the birds could have been extracted without being gassed.
“It seems to me there could have been other options,” said Aline Euler, of the Alley Pond Environmental Center.
Daniel Egers, president of Friends of Oakland Lake, said he was upset the community was not notified before the USDA removed the birds.
“Oakland Lake is a natural treasure and it should be preserved in its natural state,” he said. “Gassing the wildlife there goes against that.”
The city’s Canada geese population has been monitored more closely after US Airways Flight 1549 struck a flock of the birds, which resulted in the loss of both the plane’s engines. Pilot Chesley Sullenberger successfully landed the plane on the Hudson River and all passengers were rescued from the craft.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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