Community and Regional Planning Program


First Advisor

Dr. Zhenghong Tang

Second Advisor

Dr. Yunwoo Nam

Third Advisor

Dr. Abigail Cochran

Date of this Version



Johannes, Brent. Urban wildlife management planning process and conflict mitigation: a case study of Denver's canada goose management plan. (2022). Community and Regional Planning Program. Student Projects and Theses.


A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the degree Master of Community and Regional Planning, Major: Community and Regional Planning, Under Supervision of Professor Zhenghong Tang. Lincoln, Nebraska: December 2022

Copyright © 2022 Brent Johannes


In 2019 and 2020, the USDA in coordination with Denver Parks and Recreation removed 2,174 geese from 6 different parks within the City of Denver. The removals and use of lethal methods to manage the concerns related to the geese population in Denver’s parks caused a public conflict and resulted in multiple legal challenges with the City of Denver. The opposition group claimed that the city did not sufficiently engage with the public in the formation of the goose management plan, and did not provide any public notification about the plan to remove geese. City officials have claimed that attempts to use non-lethal methods to manage the geese population in the parks have been unsuccessful, but the opposition group has claimed that the city has not used non-lethal management methods to the extent necessary to provide adequate results. An examination of the events that unfolded surrounding this conflict, and the public engagement processes and policies of Denver Parks and Recreation, identify opportunities to improve the public engagement methods of Denver Parks and Recreation. Improvements to record-keeping, accessibility to records, and improved accuracy of reports could enhance public engagement efforts. Denver Parks and Recreation could reduce public conflicts in the future through various public engagement process improvements. In addition, an examination of the range of non-lethal goose management methods that are available to be used, and an examination of methods that have been shown to be successful with other municipalities is presented to aid in the reduction of public conflicts regarding the management of geese in Denver’s parks in the future.

Advisor: Zhenghong Tang