Park Service Turns to Dogs to Fix National Mall's Ongoing Problem

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Spring in Washington, D.C. means cherry blossoms and hordes of tourists flocking to the National Mall. And with peak season right around the corner, the National Park Service is dealing with a “crappy” problem as well.

Large swaths of the National Mall are covered in feces, courtesy of the very large population of Canada Goose that make their home on the picturesque grounds.

The National Park Service says that just one goose produces as much as “2-3 pounds” of waste per day.

It’s not just disgusting for the folks who step in it. The geese waste may be causing major damage to the infrastructure on the National Mall, including the famous Reflecting Pool that runs between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument.

“The presence of geese is leading to the degradation of the [Reflecting] pool water due to defecation in and on walkway near the [Reflecting] pool,” the Park Service said.

The Park Service announced it has launched a new program that it calls “goose harassment services” — and it could be a very clever solution to a really crappy situation. Cue the Collies — the Park Service wants to use border collies to fix the goose problem.

These dogs are bred to herd sheep so the Park Service’s goal is to have them do the same with the geese, forcing them into different areas to do their business and enabling park officials to clean up the mess and maintain some spots as “geese free.”

This is not a job for rookies. The Park Service says that dog handlers must have five years of experience with Canada Goose harassment with dogs in order to take part.

Wildlife on federal lands is not a new issue for the Park Service, which oversees 23 national parks just within the District of Columbia.

In 2012, it launched a project to cull the exploding population of white-tailed deer in the Washington’s Rock Creek Park. Sharpshooters were used to hunt the deer and the meat was later donated to local soup kitchens.

But don’t worry — the geese on the Mall will be kept safe.

The National Park Service specifically says in its contract: “No water fowl or other living creature shall be killed, harmed or injured in any way.”


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