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Model City taking new approach to goose overpopulation

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KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) - We're seeing warmer weather, which means you'll see more people taking advantage of it outside. But people won't be the only ones flocking to the Greenbelt in Kingsport, so will geese and that is causing a big problem for the city.

The geese have multiplied, forcing the city to figure out how to get rid of them.

Where you find geese, you'll also find the things they leave behind, down on the Greenbelt, things you probably wouldn't want to step in.

Believe it or not Kingsport is a bird sanctuary, meaning these birds, at least the ones that have already been born, are protected. So the city, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying something new.

When the sun is shinning the Greenbelt in Kingsport is a popular spot, according to the city's Streets and Sanitation Manager Ronnie Hammonds. He said it, "gets a lot of people, especially during summer months, but almost any day you can find someone walking or jogging on this section of the Greenbelt."

Of those people, you may find Deana Stoddard.

"They usually greet me when I park and walk down I kind have to shoo them out of the way," she said, and she is not talking about her walking partner.

"The goose population really likes this area," said Hammonds.

Where you find a goose you can usually find goose droppings.

"They leave a little trail everywhere they go and you kind of have to dodge it as you walk," said Stoddard.

It's a problem the City of Kingsport has been working to solve for years.

Hammonds told News Channel 11, "they leave a lot of goose droppings that is really unsightly, unsanitary, unhealthy."

The city has tried several different ways to cut down on the geese population. They sent in Border Collies to chase the geese away. They've also let the grass grow a little taller, where geese fear a predator might be lying, both have worked, but not enough.

"It's not unusual for us to have to send a street flusher down here some days twice a day to try to get the droppings off the Greenbelt," said Hammonds.

So now the Model City has teamed up with U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"That will help us hopefully reduce the resident goose population," said Hammonds.

Workers will go up and down the Greenbelt in one day, Hammonds said, "spraying the eggs with sort of like a Crisco oil type of material or they'll actually be picking the eggs up and shaking them."

News Channel 11 asked, "you're killing them essentially?"

Hammonds responded, "it's basically just keeping the eggs from developing."

When this project might take place has not been set, but it will be at some point during the spring.

Kingsport officials also want to hear from you if you're down at the Greenbelt and you see goose droppings. You can give the city a call at 423-229-9451.

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