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1. Geese Are One of the Major Polluters in the Milk River
2. New Hampshire Beach Contaminated by Geese Droppings

1. Geese Are One of the Major Polluters in the Milk River

Officials in Alberta, Canada reported in 2013 that geese are one of the major contributors of fecal contamination in the Milk River.

The Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, in collaboration with Milk River Watershed Council Canada, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, conducted a
microbial source tracking study to determine what was causing the high fecal coliform counts at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park in 2011 and 2012.

Officials suspected cows to be contaminating the Milk River, which runs through the Park. Other potential sources of fecal contamination included Wildlife, Cattle, Horses, Sheep, Hogs, Chickens, Humans, and Dogs.

The study?s preliminary results show that Cattle, geese, and cliff swallows appear to be the major contributors of fecal contamination in the Milk River while Humans, dogs, horses, hogs, shore birds, chickens, sheep, deer, and antelope are not major contributors.

Dr. Lisa Tymensen, water analytical research scientist at the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, emphasized in her slide presentation that identification of the source of fecal contamination is important for guiding water quality improvement projects and microbial source tracking (MST) is the emerging technology that allows researchers to do that.

2. New Hampshire Beach Contaminated by Geese Droppings

Geese were identified in 2006 as the most significant source of fecal pollution at a beach in Troy, New Hampshire.

The University of New Hampshire conducted a
Freshwater Beach Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Microbial Source Tracking (MST) study for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), which was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the TMDL Program.

Researchers suspected that Canada Geese was the source of E. coli at Sand Dam Village Pond Town Beach; bather loads at Pawtuckaway Lake-Pawtuckaway State Park; and agriculture at Mill Pond Town Beach.

Sampling was done during dry and wet weather conditions. The Sand Dam Village Pond Town Beach area is surrounded by a town park that are home to a large population of Canada geese from spring through the fall. This prompted the theory that the prevalence of geese at the beach in Troy may be related to the high E. coli concentrations in geese feces and the fact that they often deposit feces directly into lakewater.

Human, wild animal and pet source isolates were only detected at low levels, and appear to have been insignificant sources of contamination at the beaches on the sample dates. Geese were the most significant source at Troy.
 
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