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Disgusting Esplanade, disgusting algae bloom in the Charles linked?

Mike the Mad Biologist thinks so: A program to get geese out of Science Park only got them to move down to the Esplanade, which they now crap up, leading to crappy runoff into the river, feeding what has become an annual bloom of blue-green algae that is itself pretty gross:

... These algal blooms have been spotted in previous years up by Science Park, but now the blooms have moved down river to the Esplanade. Over the last couple of years, something else has moved downriver: geese. Two years ago, if you went out to the Esplanade on a summer day, the grass was packed with people. ... Now, almost nobody sits out at the Esplanade, with good reason: there's probably five to ten goose turds per square meter--that's fresh turds. It really is that disgusting (you definitely need a towel and a chair). The city of Boston is spending thousands and thousands of dollars to make an all-you-can-eat goose buffet and gooseshitatorium. ...


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A couple of observations....

Science Park is down river from the Esplanade, not upriver as you seem to suggest. The Charles River starts at Echo Lake in Hopkinton and flows into Boston Harbor.

The geese problem was much worse a few years ago. The number of geese was astounding. The Esplanade Association spearheaded an effort that has dramatically reduced the geese population on the Esplanade between the BU Bridge and Science Park. For more info, http://www.esplanadeassociation.org/getinvolved/ge.... This has resulted in far fewer geese feeding on the grass and far fewer young being hatched in the last few years on the lower Charles.

So the trend is that the geese population is dropping, while the algae problem is getting more notice. I would also like to point out that an algae bloom has been present on the Charles for at least the last 15 years (as long as I have been in Boston). While the algae bloom was particularly intense last summer, there has always been a bloom when the water temperature rises, generally in August. Despite the view of some that this is a new problem, it simply is not, although some may not have taken notice of it until last year. It may be getting worse due to a number of factors: increased phosphorus in run-off and increased water temperatures in the spring, decreased turbidity in the water column allowing sunlight to penetrate to greater depths, to name three.

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Who said they could park their geese here anyway?

The cyanobacteria is a wicked pissah. I signed up for that swim last year, and when they cancelled it because the Deadly Green Ick of Death was off the charts, I figured it'd be a while before it happens for realsies.

Cyanobacteria is icky, but pretty interesting stuff. I guess we can thank it for our oxygen back in the Proterozoic. But since it's been around longer than any of us, trying to get it to go away now might be hard. It'll probably still be around long after humanity is extinct.

Me, I blame the golf courses. No good reason, but I blame them anyway.

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The Charles has smelled horrendous in August for a long time.

It started smelling a bit better in recent years as they stopped dumping so much sewage into it. Those geese don't shit nearly as much as what used to be dumped in legally and illegally, knowingly and unknowingly. And while the grass mowing and turd deposition festival is quite ick, I cant help but wonder if they can't run an aeration machine over the turf to work it in and smash it out.

There was a big article in the paper when I was in Chicago about taking eggs from goose nests in the spring and destroying them, replacing them with phony eggs. I guess there are a whole bunch of professionals who do this work. I wonder if there will be such workers in Boston next year? I guess it is fairly effective.

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Aren't geese supposed to be really tasty? I remember something or other to that effect from Dickens. Let's feed them to the homeless!


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