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Enviroment File

Grounded goose A ground-bound goose might have to be put down if it can't fly south from a local golf course, says an expert.

Grounded goose

A ground-bound goose might have to be put down if it can't fly south from a local golf course, says an expert.

Local golfers have reported seeing a goose with malformed wings around the Sturgeon Valley Golf & Country Club this summer. The goose, now fully grown, has no feathers on half of its wings, giving them a skeletal appearance.

Groundskeepers first spotted the goose in June, says assistant superintendant Scott Killips, and believe it may have been born at the course. It usually hangs around the water hazards on the third and fourth holes.

The goose is easy to spot due to its wings, Killips says, which keep it from flying. "Once the other geese were learning to fly, he was grounded."

The goose hangs around with the other birds when they're on the ground, but gets left behind when they take flight.

Lame geese such as this one turn up occasionally at the course, Killips says. Their policy is to wait until fall and hope the bird flies south with the others. If it doesn't, they turn it over to a wildlife rehabilitation society.

Kristin Arnot, wildlife services director for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton, guessed that this goose might be malnourished or injured, resulting in its strange wings. It would have little chance of survival on its own.

The society's veterinarians will examine the goose if someone brings it in, she said. If the bird is malnourished or injured, they could fatten it up over the winter and release it during the spring. "If it's a [birth] deformity … we can't do anything about that. The bird will have to be put to sleep."

The goose was still at the course as of Thursday afternoon, Killips says, hanging around with a few other birds. "I don't know if he will ever be able to fly."

Shore cleanup time

Thousands of Canadians will show their love for shores this Sunday as part of a national shoreline cleanup campaign.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup arrives in St. Albert this Sunday. The local event, one of hundreds planned across the country, will bring about 50 volunteers to the Sturgeon River to pluck trash from its shores.

Trash is ugly to people and a threat to aquatic life, says Mat Lebel, water management advisor for the World Wildlife Fund in St. Albert, which is co-ordinating the city's cleanup. Plastic bags, cigarette butts and other debris can choke animals, leak toxins and spread invasive species. "It's one widespread pollution problem threatening our waterways."

Previous cleanups have found up to 77 kilograms of debris, including bottles, construction signs and sandbags. "Last year, I pulled out a Star Wars lightsabre," Lebel says.

Participants are asked to dress appropriately, and will be given free food, bags, and "I love my shoreline" shirts. The cleanup runs from 10 to 2 this Sept. 19 behind St. Albert Place.

Toxic roundup inbound

Get ready to bring all the paint, batteries and bulbs you want to the annual toxic waste roundup next week, say city staff — but please, stay in your seats this time.

St. Albert's annual household hazardous waste roundup kicks off on Sept. 25 at the public works yard. The event gives locals a chance to safely dispose of substances not permitted in ordinary trash.

You can bring in pretty much anything but medicine, ammunition or industrial waste, says city environmental co-ordinator Meghan Myers. Staff collected about 17,974 litres of toxic fluid last year, in addition to 924 kilograms of hazardous solids and 791 aerosol cans.

Myers expects about a thousand cars to show up this year, which means it could get pretty hectic around the yard. She asks all residents to stay in their cars and let staff haul the waste where it needs to go.

The roundup runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday. Call 780-459-1735 for details.

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