Light Goose Timeline

Considerable thanks is owed to Mike A. Johnson, Biologist (retired), North Dakota Game and Fish Department, for gathering the information in this timeline. It was created based on his 2013 presentation “Significant milestones in understanding and managing superabundant midcontinent light geese”.

Timeline

2018

Midcontinent Lesser Snow Goose Management Guidelines in Central Flyway

Midcontinent Lesser Snow Goose Management Guidelines in Central Flyway

In 2018, the Central Flyway Council prepared and approved the Management Guidelines for Midcontinent Lesser Snow Geese in the Central Flyway.  This plan uses Lincoln estimates as the primary monitoring/management index. The most recent goose management plans can be accessed through the AGJV website at: https://www.agjv.ca/related-links/

Midcontinent Lesser Snow Goose Management Plan in Mississippi Flyway

Midcontinent Lesser Snow Goose Management Plan in Mississippi Flyway

In 2018, the Mississippi Flyway Council prepared and approved the Management Plan for Midcontinent Lesser Snow Geese in the Mississippi Flyway.  This plan uses Lincoln estimates as the primary monitoring/management index. The most recent goose management plans can be accessed through the AGJV website at: https://www.agjv.ca/related-links/

USFWS Response to Pacific Flyway Inquiry for Conservation Order Regulations

USFWS Response to Pacific Flyway Inquiry for Conservation Order Regulations

In 2018, the USFWS responded to the Pacific Flyway’s 2016 inquiry about pursuing conservation order regulations. The Service supported increasing bag limits within the regular season and use of other current management tools to reduce damage concerns and provided some suggestions regarding data synthesis and acquisition and possible paths forward for modifying regulations under the NEPA process.

14th NAAG Conference and Workshop

14th NAAG Conference and Workshop

At the 14th North American Arctic Goose Conference and Workshop held in March 2018, a workshop was held to discuss the future of special measures and Conservation Order regulations.

2016

Special Measures Implemented in Yukon

In Canada, special measures were implemented in the Yukon Territory in 2016.

Pacific Flyway Inquiry for Conservation Order Regulations

Pacific Flyway Inquiry for Conservation Order Regulations

In 2016, the Pacific Flyway Council sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting the Service begin work to revise the existing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents for light goose management to allow for a conservation order for light geese within the Pacific Flyway. Abundances of Western Arctic and Wrangel Island Populations of lesser snow geese and Ross’s geese were well above management objectives, and studies indicated very high growth rates of snow geese in northern Alaska (>20%/year), on Wrangel Island, (>10%/year), and within the western Canadian Arctic, principally on Banks Island (>5%/year).

2015

Special Measures Implemented in Northwest Territories and Alberta

In Canada, special measures were implemented in the Northwest Territories and Alberta in 2015.

13th NAAG Conference and Workshop

13th NAAG Conference and Workshop

At the 13th North American Arctic Goose Conference held in April of 2015, a plenary session on snow goose ecology was held.

AGJV Position Statement

AGJV Position Statement

The AGJV Position Statement Regarding Overabundant Light Geese was released in 2015, following a Structured Decision Making Workshop held in 2014.

2014

Ross’s geese and western Arctic lesser snow geese declared overabundant in Canada

Ross’s geese and western Arctic lesser snow geese declared overabundant in Canada

In 2014, Ross’s Geese and western Arctic lesser snow geese were declared overabundant in Canada and included within special measures.

Surveys of Nesting Lesser Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese in Arctic Canada

Surveys of Nesting Lesser Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese in Arctic Canada

Surveys of Nesting Lesser Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese in Arctic Canada, 2002 – 2009 was published by the AGJV

AGJV Structured Decision Making Workshop

In January 2014, the AGJV held a Structured Decision Making Workshop to address the question: Should the AGJV Management Board recommend direct control measures of midcontinent light goose populations to the federal agencies to mitigate negative effects of Arctic Goose numbers on Arctic and subarctic habitats? The outcome from this workshop was to remain with the status quo, with several recommendations for additional work to be undertaken.

2013

Western Arctic Lesser Snow Geese Management Plan

Western Arctic Lesser Snow Geese Management Plan

In 2013, the Pacific Flyway Council prepared and approved the Pacific Flyway Management Plan for the Western Arctic Population of Lesser Snow Geese. The most recent goose management plans can be accessed through the AGJV website at: https://www.agjv.ca/related-links/

2012

Special Measures Implemented in Ontario

In Canada, special measures were implemented in southeastern Ontario in 2012.

Correspondence following Evaluation of Special Measures publication

In follow-up to the distribution of the Evaluation of Special Management Measures for Midcontinent Lesser Snow geese and Ross’s geese publication, several letters of correspondence ensued among the Arctic Goose Joint Venture, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Canadian Wildlife Service, the Central Flyway Council, and the Mississippi Flyway Council regarding the most appropriate path forward for continued management of light geese. This led to a special Structured Decision Making Workshop led by the AGJV in 2014.

Evaluation of Special Management Measures for Midcontinent Lesser Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese

Evaluation of Special Management Measures for Midcontinent Lesser Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese

In 2012, Evaluation of Special Management Measures for Midcontinent Lesser Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese: Report of the Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group, was published by the AGJV

2009

Greater Snow Geese Management Plan

Greater Snow Geese Management Plan

In 2009, the Atlantic Flyway Council prepared and approved the Management Plan for Greater Snow Geese in the Atlantic Flyway. The most recent goose management plans can be accessed through the AGJV website at: https://www.agjv.ca/related-links/

Lincoln Estimates

Lincoln Estimates

Following the 2009 publication, “Filling a Void: Abundance Estimation of North American Populations of Arctic Geese Using Hunter Recoveries”, Lincoln estimates of total population size, which are derived from harvest and band-recovery data, start becoming more commonly used as a method to monitor and assess Arctic goose populations. For midcontinent snow geese and Ross’s geese, Lincoln estimates are substantially larger than counts from midwinter or photo-inventory surveys, sparking discussions among managers about the true size of these populations.

2007

The Evaluation of the Special Conservation Measures for the Greater Snow Geese

The Evaluation of the Special Conservation Measures for the Greater Snow Geese

The Evaluation of the Special Conservation Measures for the Greater Snow Geese: Report of the Greater Snow Goose Working Group, was published by the AGJV in 2007.

Final Environmental Impact Statement on Light Goose Management

Final Environmental Impact Statement on Light Goose Management

In 2007, the U.S. Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was published in 2007 and established criteria for implementing light goose Conservation Order regulations within the U.S. states of the four Flyways. To date, current Federal regulations allow for Conservation order regulations in the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Central Flyways.

2006

Wrangel Island Lesser Snow Geese Management Plan

Wrangel Island Lesser Snow Geese Management Plan

In 2006, the Pacific Flyway Council prepared and approved the Management Plan for the Wrangel Island Population of Lesser Snow Geese. The most recent goose management plans can be accessed through the AGJV website at: https://www.agjv.ca/related-links/

2003

Direct Control and Alternative Harvest Strategies for North American Light Geese

Direct Control and Alternative Harvest Strategies for North American Light Geese

Direct Control and Alternative Harvest Strategies for North American Light Geese: Report of the Direct Control and Alternative Harvest Strategy Working Group, was published by the AGJV in 2003.

2001

Special Measures implemented in Saskatchewan and Nunavut

In Canada, special measures were implemented in Saskatchewan and Nunavut in 2001.

10th NAAG Conference and Workshop

10th NAAG Conference and Workshop

At the 10th North American Arctic Goose Conference held in April of 2001, a special session was held to discuss overabundant light geese. 10 papers were presented.

The Status Of Ross’s Geese

The Status Of Ross’s Geese

March 2001 – The Status Of Ross’s Geese: Report of the Arctic Goose Joint Venture Ross’s Gooose Subcommittee was published by the AGJV.

1999

The Arctic Tundra Emergency Conservation Act

November 1999 – The Arctic Tundra Emergency Conservation Act was passed by Congress and signed by the U.S. President to allow the Conservation Order to proceed in the U.S. until the EIS was completed. “To assure the long-term conservation of mid-continent light geese and the biological diversity of the ecosystem upon which many North American migratory birds depend, by directing the Secretary of the Interior to implement rules to reduce the overabundant population of mid-continent light geese.”

Special Measures implemented in Quebec and Manitoba

In Canada, special measures were first implemented in Quebec and Manitoba in 1999.

Canada Special Measures

In 1999, special measures were implemented in Canada, which allowed for harvest of light geese outside of the hunting season dates established in the Migratory Birds Convention Act of 1916. The Animal Alliance of Canada filed a lawsuit in Canada. The special measures were upheld but the court ruled that the evidence for overabundance had not included Ross’s geese, so that species was initially excluded from the regulations.

United States Conservation Order Regulations

In 1999, Conservation Order Regulations were implemented in the U.S. These new regulations allowed for harvest of light geese outside of the hunting season dates established in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1916. The Humane Society of the United States filed for an injunction in federal court to stop the Conservation Order. The CO was not stopped for that season but was withdrawn for future years until the Environmental Impact Statement could be completed.

1998

Science needs for management of overabundant snow geese

Science needs for management of overabundant snow geese

October 1998 – The AGJV produced a detailed report on the science needs for management of overabundant snow geese in October 1998. The report included recommendations for improved evaluation and monitoring of light goose populations, habitat, and the impacts of management actions.

The Greater Snow Goose

The Greater Snow Goose

October 1998 – The Greater Snow Goose: Report of the Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group, was published by the AGJV.

Snow Goose Cookbook

Snow Goose Cookbook

AGJV published the Snow Goose Cookbook to help hunters make use of large numbers of birds harvested.

A Stakeholders Working Group

February 1998 – A Stakeholders Working Group established by AFWA to conduct an independent review of the Arctic Ecosystems in Peril, produced a report that supported the findings in the “Perils” report. The 12 member stakeholders group included the Inuvialuit Game Council, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Humane Society of the United States. The report contained a section with the dissenting view of the HSUS.

Snow Geese in Peril

Snow Geese in Peril

January 1998 – Snow Geese in Peril, a video produced by Ducks Unlimited, was previewed during the 9th NA Arctic Goose Conference

Special Session at 9th NAAG Conference and Workshop

Special Session at 9th NAAG Conference and Workshop

At the 9th North American Arctic Goose Conference held in January of 1998, a special session was held to discuss overabundant light geese. Ducks Unlimited previewed their ‘Snow Geese in Peril’ video, which was followed by a full color photo book.

1997

Light goose workshops and symposia

Light goose workshops and symposia were held in several areas to relay information and gather feedback in 1997

Public information explosion

Public information explosion

Public information explosion begins. 100’s of articles begin appearing all across North America in newspapers, magazines, television, agency and NGO publications – even Life Magazine and the CBS evening news in 1997.

Light Goose Communications Strategy

Light Goose Communications Strategy

In 1997, effective communications was identified as mandatory to the successful implementation of any light goose management actions. DJCase and Associates was contracted to develop a strategy to educate and inform government decision makers, the media, and the public on this complex issue. As part of the communications strategy, three tours of the La Perouse Bay snow goose colony were organized and attended by U.S. and Canada national conservation leaders and members of the press.

Arctic Ecosystems in Peril

Arctic Ecosystems in Peril

January 1997 – Arctic Ecosystems in Peril: Report of the Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group, was published by the AGJV. The report included a description of the population and habitat problems and issues, analysis of population dynamics, review of potential management strategies, discussion of evaluations, and recommendations for action.

1996

The Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group

February 1996 – The Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group was established under the AGJV and was comprised of 17 members from the U.S. and Canada representing federal, state, NGO, and universities. Dr. Bruce Batt was selected as Chair.

1995

Amending Protocol

Amending Protocol

December 1995 – The United States and Canada signed the Amending Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds in the United States and Canada. The Amending Protocol allowed the taking of birds for management purposes without day and date restrictions. The Amending instructions were exchanged in October 1999. The U.S. Senate ratified the agreement in October of 1997. It came into force in Canada in October, 1999.

Light Goose Workshop

October 1995 – The AGJV facilitated a “Light Goose Workshop” at Oak Hammock Marsh, MB . 50 representatives of the U.S. FWS, CWS, flyways, universities, NGOs and other interests participated. From that meeting there was agreement to establish a working group of experts to address the light goose issue.

Support for the establishment of an independent international committee

Support for the establishment of an independent international committee

March 1995 – The Central Flyway Council, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) Executive Council and Migratory Wildlife Committee all pass and forward recommendations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service to “establish an independent international committee comprised of appropriate experts to explore and recommend management actions.”

Goose Management Roundtable

Goose Management Roundtable

January 1995 – During the 8th North American Arctic Goose Conference, the first organized discussion of the light goose overabundance issue was held at a Goose Management Roundtable. February 1995 – In follow up to the Goose Management Roundtable an open letter was sent to the Canadian Wildlife Service which cited the NAAG discussions, explained the problem and called for action, including the suggestion to amend the Migratory Bird Convention. The letter was widely circulated to the NA waterfowl community.

1992

Wrangel Island Lesser Snow Geese Management Plan

In 1992, the Pacific Flyway Council prepared and approved the Management Plan for the Wrangel Island Population of Lesser Snow Geese. The most recent goose management plans can be accessed through the AGJV website at: https://www.agjv.ca/related-links/

Ross’s Goose Management Plan

Ross’s Goose Management Plan

In 1992 the Pacific Flyway Council prepared and approved the Management Plan for Ross’s Geese. The most recent goose management plans can be accessed through the AGJV website at: https://www.agjv.ca/related-links/

Western Arctic Lesser Snow Geese Management Plan

Western Arctic Lesser Snow Geese Management Plan

In 1992, the Pacific Flyway Council prepared and approved the Pacific Flyway Management Plan for the Western Arctic Population of Lesser Snow Geese. The most recent goose management plans can be accessed through the AGJV website at: https://www.agjv.ca/related-links/

1991

Light Goose Studies, Karrak Lake, QMG 1991 to Present

Light Goose Studies, Karrak Lake, QMG 1991 to Present

Light goose studies at Karrak Lake, Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary were initiated in 1991 and continue to present

1989

The AGJV Prospectus

The AGJV Prospectus

The AGJV partnership was formally established and a Prospectus was developed in 1989. The AGJV Prospectus identified habitat destruction by light geese as one of the issues to be addressed.

1988

Greater Snow Goose Field Studies, Bylot Island 1988 to Present

Greater Snow Goose Field Studies, Bylot Island 1988 to Present

1986

The Arctic Goose Joint Venture (AGJV)

The Arctic Goose Joint Venture (AGJV)

The Arctic Goose Joint Venture (AGJV) was established as one of the first joint ventures under NAWMP in 1986. The AGJV was established to facilitate research and monitoring of Arctic-nesting geese.

The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP)

The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP)

The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) was signed by the United States and Canada in 1986. Mexico signed in 1994. The Plan included a Breeding Population Goal for midcontinent snow geese of 1 million birds.

1982

Western Central Flyway Light Goose Management Guidelines

Western Central Flyway Light Goose Management Guidelines

In 1982, the Central Flyway Council adopted management guidelines for snow and Ross’s geese in the Western Central Flyway. The most recent goose management plans can be accessed through the AGJV website at: https://www.agjv.ca/related-links/

First Midcontinent Snow Goose Management Plan

First Midcontinent Snow Goose Management Plan

In 1982, the Mississippi and Central Flyways produced and approved the first Midcontinent Snow Goose Management Plan “…snow geese may have exceeded the carrying capacity in some colonies along the west coast of Hudson Bay…” The most recent goose management plans can be accessed through the AGJV website at: https://www.agjv.ca/related-links/

1981

Greater Snow Goose Management Plan

Greater Snow Goose Management Plan

In 1981, the Atlantic Flyway Council prepared and approved the Greater Snow Goose Management Plan. The most recent goose management plans can be accessed through the AGJV website at: https://www.agjv.ca/related-links/

1979

Over-exploitation of vegetation

Over-exploitation of vegetation by light geese first noted at La Perouse Bay in 1979

1976

First Banks Island photo survey

The first photo-survey on Banks Island was conducted in 1976.

1973

CWS operational air photo inventories 1973 through early 2010s

CWS operational air photo inventories 1973 through early 2010s

In 1973, CWS operational air photo inventories of light goose colonies were initiated and conducted periodically over the next several decades to assess growing populations.

1971

Breeding colony at Howe Island, Alaska

In north Alaska, a small snow goose breeding colony was discovered in 1971 at Howe Island; breeding snow geese on Alaska’s Arctic Coastal Plain numbered 20,000-30,000 in the late 2010s.

1969

Breeding Ground Surveys on Wrangel Island, Russia

Breeding Ground Surveys on Wrangel Island, Russia

Surveys of Wrangel Island snow geese during the breeding season were initiated in 1969 by Russian scientists, through cooperative Russian and United States government agency efforts, and have been conducted annually for over 40 years.

1968

La Perouse Field Studies 1968 to Present

La Perouse Field Studies 1968 to Present

La Perouse Field Studies began in 1968. In 1995, the project was expanded to the Hudson Bay Project to take a broader approach to light goose and ecosystem issues.

1967

National Harvest Survey (NHS)

National Harvest Survey (NHS) is initiated in Canada in 1967.

1965

Greater Snow Goose spring survey

Greater Snow Goose spring survey

Greater Snow Goose spring survey, CWS – 1965 to present

1963

First aerial census of La Perouse Bay colony

First aerial census of La Perouse Bay colony

1962

Midcontinent Light Goose Harvest

Midcontinent Light Goose Harvest

Comprehensive Federal harvest surveys begin in the 1960s, which have provided valuable data for understanding the effects of hunting regulations on light goose harvests, patterns and changes in hunters and harvest distribution, and population dynamics of light geese. Federal harvest surveys consist of Diary/Questionnaire Surveys to estimate total goose harvest and Parts/Species Collection Surveys to estimate species- and age-specific harvests. This figure shows midcontinent light goose harvest in the U.S. and Canada during the regular waterfowl season and under special/Conservation Order regulations.

1961

Blues and Snows are same species

Blues and Snows are same species

Confirmation by Graham Cooch that Blues and Snows are same species in 1961

1959

McConnell River Project

McConnell River Project

Charles MacInnes established a research study at McConnell River, Northwest Territories (now Nunavut) in 1959 on small Canada geese and expanded it to a snow goose study in 1964 which ran continuously until 1975. The project produced seminal work on the ecology of both species, and for snow geese these include the energetics of breeding, feeding ecology, family and social behaviour, and interchange of individuals among colonies.

1953

First snow goose nesting documented

First snow goose nesting documented at La Perouse Bay, east of Churchill, Manitoba in 1953.

1952

Snow Goose Breeding Biology

In 1952, Graham Cooch established the first modern studies of the breeding biology of snow geese. He conducted ground studies on the west coast of Hudson Bay, Southampton Island, and Baffin Island. He pioneered the study of almost every aspect of their biology, including color morphs, genetics, pairing and reproductive behaviour, annual variation and habitats. He conducted the first quantitative surveys of lesser snow goose population size in the eastern arctic and he adapted Inuit techniques for summer harvest of flightless geese to the purpose of mass banding for studies of migration and winter distribution.

1948

Midwinter Surveys of Midcontinent Light Geese

Midwinter Surveys of Midcontinent Light Geese

In 1948, comprehensive Federal surveys were initiated, which were some of the first long-term monitoring datasets documenting the rapid growth of light goose populations that would occur over the coming decades.

1944

Snow Goose Colony Discovered

Snow Goose Colony Discovered

A small colony of nesting snow geese at Cape Henrietta Maria was reported by Robert Smith in 1944 and photographed by Harold Hanson in 1947. Smith also reported nesting on Akimiski Island, in southern James Bay, at the same time. The Cape Henrietta Maria colony is the largest aggregation of snow geese in southern Hudson Bay and the Akimiski colony is the southernmost snow goose colony in the world.

1941

Snow Goose colony discovered

Snow Goose colony discovered at McConnell River, west coast of Hudson Bay by Angus Gavin in 1941.

1938

First Nesting Ross’s Geese Colony Discovered

On 30 June 1938 Angus Gavin (1947) recorded the first nesting colony of 100 Ross’s Geese at a small lake (now called Discovery Lake, at 671 33′ N, 101? 49′ W) 14 miles southeast of the Perry River estuary.

1936

Nesting Grounds of Greater Snow Geese

Nesting Grounds of Greater Snow Geese

Two established nesting grounds of Greater Snow Geese confirmed on Bylot Island in 1936.

1929

Blue Goose nesting grounds

Blue Goose nesting grounds at Bowman Bay, Baffin Island discovered by Dewey Soper in 1929 – 6 year, 30,000 mile expedition

1918

Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)

Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)

In 1918 the United States, Congress passed the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)

1917

Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA)

Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA) is passed into law in Canada to implement the Migratory Birds Convention in 1917.

1916

Convention (Treaty)

Convention (Treaty)

Convention (Treaty) between the United States and Great Britain (on behalf of Canada) for the Protection of Migratory Birds is signed.