Cull those damn geese… save the salmon.

Salmon Killer!!

I’m somewhat speechless… but maybe not fully speechless. Unfortunately, this headline is a bit disconnected from the actual story. It’s a Mark Hume story from the Globe and Mail a little earlier this week:

B.C. plan aims to bring back the salmon by driving away the geese

“The restoration project, which has been planned in detail but which is still awaiting some funding, hopes to restore the Englishman and Little Qualicum River estuaries “to full productivity” for coho and Chinook salmon.

But to restore a balance to nature they have to drive out the geese, an introduced species that has done extensive damage.

The B.C. Conservation Foundation project does not propose to cull the geese, but rather seeks to exclude the birds from large areas of marshlands by creating habitat that provides cover for predators.”

With full respect to the many folks and organizations involved in this project and to Mr. Hume the writer of the article… but really, are geese the problem?!

“Restore a balance to nature” … by driving out geese?

maybe we need to look up definition of “restore”?

“Provide cover for predators”?

Which predators are those? The rare red-necked Vancouver Island sharp shooter or the less common four legged feline house dweller that favors Purina?

In my humble opinion, I don’t think geese are the problem — but then I’m not in on full details, other than being well aware of a few other impacts some years before geese became a “problem”… (and to be fair some of those impacts are mentioned in the article.)

Sure maybe the geese are munching on eel grass and what not; however, I think the problem just might be a different two-legged critter. One without wings (other than those good Halloween costumes).

The kind that logged off upslope areas of the Englishman and Little Qualicum watersheds, then built a powerline across bench areas where Chinook and coho used to spawn, then a pipeline, then a four-lane divided highway, then add in some of the most sought after retirement property and climate in the country.

Oh right, then throw in a commercial fishery gone wild (buy the video online for ($9.99), sport fisheries (now a dwindling species on East Coast Vancouver Island), maybe a little dose of well-intentioned salmon hatcheries — oh right, throw in a gauntlet of salmon farms a little further north, a polluting mine or two on migration routes… and shit… by the townload…

And… well… shit… we have a problem.

(and don’t forget those ghad-forsaken seals, oh and those pesky orcas, and who can forget those not-so-cuddly bears… why can’t nature just leave those damn salmon alone…?) (now there’s: “restoration”)

The list of organizations involved in this project is quite impressive… maybe if all of those organizations were able to attack much larger issues, then all East Coast Vancouver Island salmon might stand a chance at avoiding extinction, rather than simply existing as hatchery supported populations.

But then how would that differ from farmed Pacific salmon… or the already existing self supporting Atlantic salmon populations in B.C. streams?

This seems like one of those “feel good” projects that some organizations love to attach their name to — but then that’s the more cynical side of me, which will probably take some flack for the comments.

Who knows? Maybe all the “social capital” built on a feel good project like this will lead to real solutions sometime in the future?

And something that actually has the smallest semblance of real “restoration”…

Just a bit disappointing that the Globe and Mail editorial staff chose to attach such a disconnected headline to this article. Disappointing that even ‘nature’ stories get pasted with drama-inducing, gasping, fake headlines like the breast-augmented, plastic surgery induced “news” of primetime TV…

(Maybe it’s just a slow salmon news time with the Cohen Comish on hiatus for the time being?)

Really… though… I’m not so sure how dropping big pieces of wood in an estuary is “driving away the geese”…  Unless of course they’re throwing that wood at the geese… Or dropping those wood chunks from the air to land on those pesky grass-eating geese… maybe they need some stumps from those trees in Lord of the Rings… the Ents? (was that their name?)


Geese eating, rock throwing Ents save the salmon… (more fitting… and maybe more realistic).

One thought on “Cull those damn geese… save the salmon.

  1. Stan Covey

    I agree, this project is misguided. If you go to these estuaries you will see that they are totally choked out with invasive plants such as Spartina (cordgrass) Scotch Broom etc. Mismanagement of the water flow is another issue. At the end of the Englishman River is a spit of land that should have never been developed and filled in for houses. Lots of problems there in the future, no doubt.

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