Snow Goose Management

The Central Flyway Council (CFC) recognized the value of conducting research on lesser snow geese in 1977 when it first partially funded a banding project in 1977 and 1978. Beginning in 1981, the CFC assisted in funding a long-term study at La Perouse Bay, Manitoba. At the time this project was begun, the effort was geared to obtaining basic information (e.g., population size, production rates, habitat use) about birds that used the Central Flyway during migration and in winter. This study, including its current derivative, the Hudson bay Project, has been annually funded by the CFC and others each year since.

The long-term nature of this study was of great value to the Flyway as the population of snow geese grew rapidly in the 1980's and 90's. It was near La Perouse Bay that the first evidence of problems of over-utilized habitat by geese was observed and reported. Scientists were able to compare reproduction rates and other characteristics of individuals and the population to earlier times when there were many fewer geese. This allowed documentation of a population of snow geese that had grown too large to be supported by the habitat base in the Arctic, which in turn has lead to management actions. Between 1981 and 2000, the CF has spent $214,000 on snow goose research that included collection of information on some closely related species.

The CFC sees a value in continuing the work at La Perouse Bay and other locations. They have a longstanding commitment to support the Hudson Bay Project (opens into a new browser window). The current work is documenting ongoing effects of "too many" geese and of geese moving out of the traditional areas. It is also identifying possible remedial actions that might be taken to improve the habitat after the goose population size is lowered.

The CFC has been actively involved in addressing the over-abundant snow goose issue through several avenues. They have strongly supported efforts to increase the harvest of "light" geese at the national and international level and individual states and provinces have taken action to accomplish objectives. In a recognition of the need to understand the effect of these actions, the Flyway also supports a large project managed my the Canadian Wildlife Service.