Geese that have been polluting the Musquapsink Brook and Gritman Pond will have to find someplace else to leave their feces after planned improvements are made, according to Westwood Environmental Advisory Committee Chairman Mike Ruane.
The brook does not meet standards for cleanliness because of phosphorus and bacterial contamination, according to the Department of Environmental Protection's Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report. Geese are to blame for much of the bacterial contamination, because their feces contains E. coli and fecal coliform. The water in the brook eventually flows into the Oradell Reservoir.
"The droppings are surprisingly full of pollution, Ruane said. "I thought they were just a pain in the butt on the golf course or on the soccer field, but it's actually pretty bad."
The plan calls for trees, tall grass and wild flowers to be planted around the pond and along the brook where it passes by Girl Scout Park on Third Avenue, near the middle school. The Rutgers Cooperative Extension designed the project, which is designed to reduce the amount of goose feces in the brook by 96 percent. The new plants are intended to create a barrier that will discourage geese from entering the water.
There will also be some regrading to counter erosion at a bend in the brook. The new plants will help prevent further erosion and help absorb some water during storms, Ruane said.
Mayor John Birkner said both sites should be more attractive and usable after the project is finished.
"It makes the park a little more useful than as a goose corral," Birkner said.
The DEP approved a grant to pay for the project, but the offer will expire June 15. Ruane said he expects the project to be completed in time, but the borough will need to find volunteers to help with planting along the brook.
For more details about the Musquapsink Brook project, click here.