Patti Lawrence: Some facts about those Lake Wildwood rumors
July 20, 2018
The rumors continue in regards to the geese and E. coli at Lake Wildwood.
RUMOR: The E. coli Lake Wildwood experienced in 2017 was caused by people eating the same food, a dirty diaper, a child who already had E. coli vomiting in the lake.
FACT: The Health Department gave the sick people several questionnaires in regards to everything they did or ate for weeks prior to getting sick. After review, it was determined that the commonality was they all swam in the lake at Lake Wildwood.
RUMOR: The E. coli 0157 in 2017 was caused by a sewage spillage.
FACT: Immediately after being contacted about the sickness all sewer lines were tested and all reports came back that there was no sewage leak during that time.
The water tests taken by the CDC concur that without a doubt, the strain of E. coli was not from human waste/sewage spill. The E. coli strain is the same strain found in cattle and deer, not humans.
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RUMOR: Lake Wildwood is killing the geese in an inhumane way.
FACT: Lake Wildwood applied for a depredation permit to eliminate non-migrating geese that are making their parks and beaches unhealthy for humans. A federal employee came out, walked all the parks and beaches. After reviewing all the history of Lake Wildwood, in regards to what they are doing to discourage the geese and seeing the mess they leave firsthand, the geese were determined to be a health hazard and the permit was issued.
Fish and Game eliminate the geese by using pellet guns which is the safest, most precise way to kill them. This is not inhumane. Hunters have been killing geese by guns for as long as any of us can remember. The permit is to kill 75 of the 100 plus non-migrating geese that call Lake Wildwood home year round. The objective is that the remaining numbers will be more manageable.
The question asked over and over again is, why can't they be relocated?
Many of the geese were hatched and call Lake Wildwood home. Relocating the geese is impossible as they will return to their home.
Why hasn't Lake Wildwood done something to discourage the geese?
Lake Wildwood oils the eggs to stop new goslings from hatching. Some residents have taken it upon themselves to not report these nests, so every year there are more goslings. They have had a goose dog patrols for years. They used red lights at night to discourage them. Reflective streamers have been placed where they like to eat, defecate and sleep. Fake swans have been placed in various homes around the lake. Nothing works anymore.
RUMOR: Lake Wildwood did not give residents proper notice about killing the geese.
FACT: For a year the E. coli situation has been discussed and information has been readily available to everyone within the gates of Lake Wildwood. It was discussed frequently on Nextdoor, newspapers, LWW Ebits, emails from the general manager, a Town Hall where a panel of local experts gave residents a chance to ask questions, voice their concerns and be heard. It was discussed at great length in a recent open board meeting where over 100 residents spoke out either for or against the permit prior to the board taking a vote.
Lake Wildwood has been testing the waters all along for E. coli and the results were always within normal limits set by the various agencies. On its own, this spring, Lake Wildwood began testing areas more often including all beaches. These reports are available to Lake Wildwood residents on their website. The E. coli levels (not the same E. coli that sickened the kids but still possibly dangerous at high levels) are highest at the beaches where the geese frequent most often. People are now able to make educated decisions on where to swim or not swim at all. As a further reminder, the beaches have signs posted stating there is a swim advisory, which means, swim at your own risk.
The bottom line is that the theories made by the Lake Committee are that the E. coli O157 flowed through neighboring ranches and into the lake during the winter storms. Or it was transported to the lake by the geese. The best odds would be to go with cattle either way one looks at it. But no one knows for sure since they were unable to test the privately owned cattle.
If you have any questions contact me, email@example.com. I will do my best to answer them or direct you to those that can.
Patti Lawrence is a Lake Wildwood resident.