The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a review of resident Canada goose populations for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that was published in September 2006. Based on this EIS, the USFWS revised the Federal Regulations that pertain to resident Canada geese.
Federal Regulations now make it easier for the public to resolve resident Canada goose conflicts. Specific “Depredation Orders” have been developed that allow landowners to remove Canada geese at airports, in agricultural area, and in other areas where they are causing conflicts with human populations.
One of these depredation orders, the Nest and Egg Depredation Order, allows landowners to destroy resident Canada goose nests and eggs. This Order can be used by landowners in Virginia. No permit is required, but you must register with the USFWS in order to conduct this activity. A Web site has been developed specifically for this purpose (registration process), and provides additional information on the program.
Agricultural Depredation Order for Resident Canada Geese available in Virginia
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Program are continuing to work together to offer Virginia farmers this important tool to manage problems caused by Resident Canada geese.
The Agricultural Depredation Order allows agricultural producers including landowners, operators, and tenants actively engaged in commercial agriculture to use certain lethal methods to control Resident Canada geese on lands that they personally control and where geese are damaging agricultural crops.
Similar to the Nest and Egg Depredation Order noted above, the Agricultural Depredation Order was established through the Environmental Impact Statement on Resident Canada Geese developed by the USFWS. The Agricultural Depredation Order is somewhat different in that it is administered by the state agencies and state authorization is required to conduct this control. There is no federal website registration or federal permit needed, but a state permit is required.
The permit is free and is available through a cooperative program being offered by the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Virginia. Agricultural producers can apply for the permit by contacting the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, P.O. Box 130, Moseley, VA 23120 Phone: (804) 739-7739 FAX: (804) 739-7738, (Physical address: 21321 Hull Street, Moseley, VA 23120). The USDA will collect information from the applicant on the amount and type of damage being caused by the geese. This information will be passed along to VDGIF who will issue a Permit and a Landowner Annual Report Form to landowners that qualify for the program. The authorization process will provide a quick turn-around for permits and should make the process more user friendly for landowners and managers.
Activities allowed under this permit include the lethal take of Canada geese from May 1 through August 31. All management actions must occur on the property controlled/managed by the applicant. Geese may not be taken using hunting methods such as decoys and calls. The Landowner Annual Report Form issued with the Permit should be used to keep a record of all control activities and must be returned to the VDGIF by September 30. Additional information including the terms and conditions of the permit are listed on the application and are available from the USDA.
Past efforts have shown that Canada goose depredation control is most effective when a combination of techniques is used in an integrated approach. These techniques include hunting seasons (special early and regular Resident Canada goose seasons and liberal bag limits), nest and egg destruction, non-lethal treatment methods like hazing and harassment, habitat management, and lethal alternatives when needed.
For additional information about Resident Canada geese and other waterfowl populations in Virginia, visit the waterfowl section of this website.