The blood is on the city’s hands.
New documents revealed this week that city officials pushed for a “no-fly zone” for geese far wider than a five-mile radius from airports suggested by federal officials — even discussing the need for a 30-mile kill zone.
The minutes from the Nov. 15, 2006, meeting of the Bird Hazard Task Force — the team that would later approve the controversial, middle-of-the-night massacre of geese in Prospect Park this summer — reveal a vigorous debate among various city, state and federal agencies about just how far they would go to ensure that airplanes would not collide with geese.
“A five-mile radius is sensible, not further than five miles,” a representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said at the meeting, according to the minutes, which we obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request. The minutes typically only provide the name of the agency speaking during the conversation, not the speaker.
But then a representative of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection said that a five-mile radius is simply not adequate.
“Five miles is just a number,” the representative said. “The liability issue can extend 30 miles.”
Later, the speaker added, “[Can we] put to rest the five-mile limit? [We’re] not satisfied.”
The minutes reveal that even prior to the so-called Miracle on the Hudson splash landing on the Hudson River last year, the city wanted to kill far more geese than other government agencies sought.
And even after Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s famous flight, the agencies settled on a five-mile radius for goose round-ups.
That radius would subsequently be expanded by the city to seven miles this year to include Prospect Park — though the park appears to be outside even that radius — leading to massacre of some 290 geese and their innocent goslings.
The story sent shockwaves throughout the nation, and raised questions of whether any goose in New York was safe from the Bloomberg Administration.
Indeed, one of the speakers at that 2006 meeting presaged the inevitable controversy that would haunt Brooklyn’s green heart.
“Geese will be the hardest to control in parks, [there is] an emotional issue,” said Kim Wagner, a representative with Wildlife Services, the federal agency that would go on to gas the geese under contract from the city.