Andres Herrera, Oxnard city councilman
I think the city has taken several approaches and this is the one that is the most effective in the course of trying to protect its investment and, at the same time, eradicate the problem that these birds leave, which is the destruction of that property. There have been other attempts, other methods that have been used that have not been as effective and that have caused problems for other migratory fowl. And at this point, this has been proven the most effective method for trying to resolve this matter. I know the staff out there has looked at all kinds of alternatives and options and, quite frankly, we're not the only golf course that has found this method to be effective. I think the reason we've gotten so much notoriety is because we have homes out there around the golf course. I feel for the people who have an affinity for those birds, but they do create a large amount of havoc and health hazards, and it's a decision that we have to make to protect our interests, which is the golf course.
Otto Kanny, \o7 Negotiating with the city to manage River Ridge Golf Course\f7
Yes, I think the city is taking the appropriate action based on the background and the history of the efforts to resolve this situation over the years. It's about the only thing we've found that works. In previous years, we've tried everything from radio-controlled airplanes to harass the coots away; we've had people actually go out and try to chase the birds away and, every time, they've come back. We've gone and checked with the other courses around Southern California, all the way to San Bernardino, and asked them what they use and the only thing we've found that is successful is the elimination (of the coots) early in the season. What we've seen from past experience is as the additional birds come down; they don't see birds in these particular lakes and they don't land in these particular lakes; they look for places where there are already (coots). I'm curious as to why the concern is at River Ridge alone and not at all the other courses that are using the same methods. We're not doing anything different.
Manuel Lopez, \o7 Oxnard mayor\f7
This is a very volatile issue because people have very strong feelings on either side, so what we have tried to do is to mediate it. We have to do something to control the degradation or the ruining of the course. However,we also have to be sensitive to the people who feel strongly about what we're doing. We have tried many, many ways of controlling them. We've strung up wires, we've followed every suggestion that we have received so far and nothing has seemed to work except what we're doing. I would strongly suggest that the people who are concerned come forward with alternate suggestions. I think that we would be willing to try anything within reason, except shooting the golfers, which I think one person suggested. Secondly, I think in the long term there have been some discussions relative to developing water features when we have the closure of the Bailard Landfill. Water features may also be developed as part of the closure of the Coastal (landfill). So if water features are developed, that may be the end to the problem, because the reason the coots come here is the water.
Dorothy Done, \o7 Board member, Concerned People for Animals; member of Humane Society of Ventura County, and of Animal Emancipation\f7
No. There are better alternatives than shooting animals. I live nearby and I never really see any damage being done by the coots. The real problem is that the golfers don't like to walk on the mess that the coots make. Other courses have successfully used catapult nets to capture the birds and relocate them. This is more expensive than shooting them, but obviously more humane. One of the big issues is public safety. There are homes right on the golf course. It's illegal to shoot within city limits, and it's illegal to shoot within 150 feet of homes, which they violate. They hit two homes during last year's shoot. Golfers are still on the course when they shoot; children could be out there. The shooters, as far as we know, are not even licensed. They leave wounded birds. A reputable hunter would never leave wounded birds. It's a terrible sight to see these poor birds flopping around in agony, dying slowly. They haven't done everything they can. They really don't want to do anything other than shoot them, because that's the cheapest thing.
Joyce George, \o7 President, Humane Society of Ventura County\f7
I think the River Ridge Golf Course was ill-conceived in the beginning. It's near a dump, which attracts birds. It has bodies of water, which attract birds, and it just seems to me that they could try some other methods of dealing with this wildlife. We have learned as human beings to live with wildlife; we've robbed wildlife of practically all of their environments. I was recently in Washington, D.C., and I was happy to see birds freely flying around our beloved statues of Jefferson and Lincoln. It seems to me that the River Ridge Golf Course pales in comparison to Lincoln and Jefferson. Obviously, the officials in Washington have learned how to coexist with wildlife better than the city of Oxnard. It's my understanding that they contacted the Humane Society of the United States and it suggested several other alternatives. I don't know that those alternatives have been tried. Maybe diverting the birds to another water place in the county would work.