07 May 2013

Will Omaha Project Remove Water Essential for Goslings?

A project to revamp the Gene Leahy Mall in downtown Omaha is currently underway. Contractors are present and the site is fenced to prevent any unwanted access. Many things are being changed, and that includes the extent of water in the lagoon.

The goose family at Gene Leahy mall.

The shallow waters of the relict lagoon are still readily seen from a street overpass over the place. Obvious on Sunday morning, May 5th, mom and pop goose (a.k.a. a pair of Canada Goose) and their seven small, recently hatched goslings, were grazing upon the grass. Three Mallards were also present.

They had a nest upon the lagoon island and "mama goose" laid her first egg when there was still plenty of floatable water. Neither parent knew that a renovation project was an approved contract issued by city officials, as being done in accord to a specific start date that might influence the survival of their young.

No bureaucrat considered the perspective of this pair of geese. Any turtle in the pond, or some lingering Mallards, did not know anything of the governmental decree that would dramatically alter the place they thought was a safe haven, and even suitable as a place to raise some young.

The extent of floatable water has changed in the past month, going from a greater to lesser extent. There was still an ample amount in early May, apparently because of recent rains.

It will require many days for these goslings to grow to an extent where they can fly to some other suitable place, nearby.

What is not known is whether the contractor for the project will bring in a pump with the purpose to remove any waters of the lagoon which remain to facilitate their contractual work activities? The intent seems to be a dry place so construction activities can continue unabated, so they can be completed within a specified period.

Waterfowl revert to an aquatic environment when threatened. The pair of geese and their progeny would move to the waters which remain to be safe.

Certainly the site is fenced, and so there might not be any wild predators present. That is however not a certainty, because perhaps an errant dog might get through the fence, and find that young goslings are something it could ravage, as there are dogs not on their leash — though they are supposed to be according to a city ordinance — throughout Omaha, every day.

It's obvious that the bit of water remaining in the lagoon should be maintained until the goslings of the lagoon can fly away to a safe haven elsewhere.

It may not be a requisite based upon some legal requirement, but it is obviously the proper thing to do!

And then there is the large snapping turtle, left to its own means to deal with decimation of its home.

These natural aspects associated with this project, so obvious with a lagoon with water where waterfowl occur, were certainly not considered by officials of the City of Omaha and project contractors.

A email was sent May 6th to the acting director of Omaha Parks Recreation and Public Property, as well as the mayor's office for their comment on this situation.

This is what the lagoon looked like on April 27th, when the snapping turtle was looking for a better place.

City Officials Indifferent to Plight of Geese

There has been no response received from any official of the city of Omaha, as of May 17th. The extent of water continues to decline, and the goose family is being forced to live among scum and trash.

The Canada Goose family at the western extent of the Leahy Mall lagoon.

The relict water area of the lagoon which the geese had been using.

A pair of Mallards and a Killdeer were present here early in the morning of May 17th.