Ordinance Makes it Illegal to Feed Waterfowl
(IDAHO FALLS, ID) — The Idaho Falls City Council passed an ordinance this week that prohibits the feeding of the geese and other waterfowl on city property. This means a fine of up to $100 will now be imposed on anyone caught feeding the geese along the Greenbelt. Here is the official statement from the City:
Ordinance Prohibits Feeding of Waterfowl
Idaho Falls City Council approves ordinance prohibiting the feeding of
waterfowl on city-owned property
Idaho Falls, Idaho, Friday, July 26th, 2013: City Council approved an ordinance
prohibiting the feeding of waterfowl on city-owned property. The ordinance makes it an
infraction for a person to feed, or allow to be fed, any birds, waterfowl or fowl, including
but not limited to ducks, geese, swans, seagulls, pigeons, dove, and other birds on or in any
city-owned or city-maintained property, park, or right-of-way.
The fine for those caught feeding the geese will not exceed $100. Recognizing that it will
take time to educate the community on the new ordinance, law enforcement will issue
warnings before issuing an infraction.
Gregg Losinski, Regional Conservation Educator, Upper Snake Region for the Idaho
Department of Fish & Game states, “The problem of nuisance urban waterfowl is not
unique to Idaho Falls. Many other communities across the nation face similar situations.
Any feeding of wild waterfowl is not beneficial because it diverts them from a healthy
natural diet and can result in either delayed or stalled migration. Ordinances prohibiting
the feeding of waterfowl are the first step in addressing problems where birds congregate
Waterfowl require proper nutrition to survive. Their diet must be high in essential fats,
proteins and nutrients to ensure proper development, feather replacement and to
recondition their bodies after migration and during breeding cycles. When people feed
waterfowl food that is not part of their natural diet, they are unknowingly harming the
geese as they become malnourished. Additional problems include dependency, disease,
water pollution, environmental degradation, delayed migration, costly management efforts
and devaluation of the species.
Earlier this month, the City of Idaho Falls entered into a $3,000 annual contract with the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services to initiate a program to reduce the
damage caused by the Canada geese at the Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Greenbelt.
The contract included plans to relocate some of the geese to wildlife management areas
with authorization from Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The necessity of the contract
is due to the geese causing property damage and human health and safety issues associated
with turf grass damage, fecal droppings and presence in public use areas
The goal of the City of Idaho Falls’ geese relocation plan is to relocate some of the Canada
geese, not all of them, to a wildlife management area. Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman
states, “We understand that citizens and visitors have enjoyed feeding the geese on the
greenbelt for many generations. However, feeding the geese is not in the best interest of
Greg Weitzel, Parks & Recreation Director states, “We are thankful to USDA Wildlife
Services and the Idaho Fish and Game staff for their assistance and advice. We will continue
to work closely with both agencies over the long-term to find a healthy balance of geese
within our parks for the benefit of our residents and the wildlife.”