OCEAN PINES – Ocean Pines officials are exploring the use of a specialty turf grass to deter geese.
Last week, Director Tom Janasek, board liaison for the Environmental and Natural Assets Advisory Committee, presented the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Board of Directors with a proposal to test FlightTurf, a low-maintenance turf grass, at the North Gate pond. He said the product is made to deter wildlife, including geese and deer.
“What the committee was recommending or asking for is to do a test area at the North Gate pond where the geese congregate and see how it works over a year …,” he said. “What it is is patented grass that geese don’t like the flavor of. That’s all it is.”
In 2018, the association brought in officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to euthanize nearly 300 Canada geese in an effort to mitigate problems relating to excrement and environmental pollution. That decision, however, drew the ire of some Pines residents protesting the “wholesale slaughter” of the birds without the community’s knowledge.
In his remarks last week, Janasek said the advisory committee had explored all alternatives in dealing with the community’s goose problem. That research, he said, led them to FlightTurf.
“When we had the issue with the geese a few years ago, there was a lot of dissention in Ocean Pines,” he said, “and we didn’t need to create any more of that.”
While the turf grass comes at a high cost – $2,600 an acre – Janasek said it was drought resistant and required less maintenance.
“Instead of being cut every two weeks, it’s cut twice or three times a year,” he said. “It doesn’t take as much water to keep it alive and growing.”
Janasek said he was bringing the committee’s recommendation to the board to gather thoughts and ideas. He said if the turf grass was effective at controlling the goose population, it could be planted in areas around the Worcester County Veterans Memorial, at the corner of Cathell Road and Route 589.
“There are a lot of good things about it,” he said. “Obviously it’s an expense. But if it works there it could be something that can be planted around the Veterans Memorial in order to keep the geese from congregating there. That’s where the issue is, all around the Veterans Memorial and the path around the south pond.”
Director Colette Horn asked if the board could get information on all alternatives the committee explored.
“In light of all this work the committee has done looking at other alternatives that the committee seems to be ruling out, I think it would be instructive for the board to be educated about what those other options are …,” she said.
Janasek said he could prepare that information for the next meeting.
“We’ve looked at every single thing you can imagine for geese deterrents,” he said, “for keeping them away from the ponds.”
Janasek added the turf grass, if effective, could also be used around the golf course.
“It’s a great idea,” Golf Superintendent Justin Hartshorne said. “We’re always looking for new ways to deter geese.”