OCEAN PINES – An Ocean Pines committee has withdrawn its support for the use of a specialty turf grass to deter geese.
Last Saturday, Director Amy Peck, board liaison for the Environmental and Natural Assets Advisory Committee, announced a proposal to test FlightTurf, a low-maintenance turf grass, at the North Gate pond has been withdrawn after further research by General Manager John Viola, Public Works Director Eddie Wells and Golf Superintendent Justin Hartshorne.
In September, the committee brought the proposal before the board as a method to deter wildlife, including geese and deer, in areas around the ponds and Worcester County Veterans Memorial. The FlightTurf product was estimated to cost $2,600 an acre.
“I’m very proud of the committee and the work they did and the research they did on the FlightTurf,” she said. “Once we got more information from John Viola and Justin and Eddie Wells, it became apparent that this became a very cost-prohibitive approach, so it’s back to the committee.”
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 a presentation to the board earlier this fall, former Director Tom Janasek said the committee had explored alternatives in dealing with the community’s goose population. 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 at the time, “and we didn’t need to create any more of that.”
In last week’s board meeting, President Larry Perrone noted the committee had withdrawn its support for the proposal. Viola, however, noted that the process for vetting the product had worked as it should.
“The committee had some good ideas,” he said. “We did do research, we followed up, but the process worked.”
“They are now researching other options, options that they’ve used in the past,” she said of the committee. “Right now, they are looking at increasing the vegetative barrier, to see if that would work on the goose population. They continue to work on that, and I will keep everybody updated.”