LETTER: Goosing city hall

From reader Claus Schunke...

“Dr. Thomas Edge says it is very difficult to tell for sure if E. coli at a beach is caused by geese or not.”

He also says “… geese usually drop droppings on the sand along the waterline…”

Which they and ducks do copiously and have been doing for many years along the waterline of the Lakeside Park beach. Only at night, while resting there. Meaning they then move little and stuff piles up.

As we don’t seem to have markedly more geese now than in previous years provided E. coli testing is done using exactly the same methods under exactly the same conditions in exactly the same locations the question needing to be asked is: If geese are the source, what caused the sudden change to their innards at this particular time? In relation to last year when, ostensibly, conditions and process were the same. And we didn’t have this year’s spike.

It seems improbable that an E. coli spike materializes out of nowhere in one specific location, yet without a specific contaminator. And if human participation is eliminated, how difficult can this be to figure out?

Droppings along the waterline usually disappear soon after beach-goers arrive with kids: splashing, running about. Rain and wavelets will cause the same. So, obviously a sizeable amount of dispersed droppings stays in sluggish shallows close to the shore.

Is that where the testing takes place, Erin Brockovich? Also comparing year-to-year population-numbers, movement and feeding-patterns? Which we probably don’t because we don’t have them?

Once determined that geese indeed are the source, why not just get a city-worker to pooper-scoop the contaminants along the shoreline every morning. In 10 minutes it would be done.

In the meantime we’re left uncomfortably with seemingly spotty-dodgy field- and lab-work. Everybody’s guessing. And generalizing as Dr. Edge is not local.

How about the old scientific comparison/elimination/isolation-thing?

And while you’re at it, how about making feeding of all water-fowl illegal with stiff fines attached!

Claus Lao Schunke

Nelson

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