Scientist Sees Many Chicago Beach Closings As Unnecessary
John Cody Reporting
CHICAGO (WBBM) - A Field Museum scientist says many of the Chicago lakefront summer swim bans are unnecessary but will continue until the EPA agrees to modify its ruling on what constitutes water contamination.
WBBM’s John Cody has the story.
Dr. Douglas Stotz says when counts of E. Coli bacteria carried by seagulls get high, swimming is stopped. But he says there's been no direct link shown between the E. Coli in seagull droppings and any human illness.
He tells Newsradio 780 "I do think beaches are being closed unnecessarily'.
Dr. Stotz is a conservation ecologist who specializes in birds. Dr Stotz consults with the City of Chicago Department of Environment which is conducting a program to trim the number of seagulls flying along Chicago's shoreline and living large off Dumpsters, dropped hot dogs and funnel cakes.
He agrees seagulls in large numbers can be a nuisance and is working with the city on a study to see if the seagull population can be reduced along the lake front.
Agriculture Department wildlife biologists have been spraying corn oil on sea gull eggs near Navy Pier instead of removing or scrambling them lest frustrated gull parents just move inland and start new families elsewhere.
The oil would prevent air from moving through the shells and destroy the embryos.
Some nests will be left untouched to determine the behavioral differences in gulls with and without young.
Doctor Stotz says since there are 70,000 breeding pairs from Wisconsin round to Indiana, the chances of reducing the numbers by removing most of the offspring near Navy Pier is very remote.
So Doug is just saying what us birders know already: spraying corn oil on the relatively small colony of gulls that live near Navy Pier is not going to even make a dent in the number of gulls that frequent the Lake Michigan lakefront.
How much is this bird-brained experiment costing us taxpayers???