Gulls, poop no longer plague lake

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AUBURN – A year after officials began killing gulls to get them off Lake Auburn, the bird population is down and there are no more problems with bacteria in the water.

Officials continue to use noise to harass the birds when they try to gather in the morning.

“We’re encouraging them to go somewhere else,” said Norm Lamie, superintendent of Auburn’s water district.

The gulls began arriving at the lake, the public water supply for Auburn and Lewiston, in 2003. By 2004, their presence, sometimes in the thousands, caused spikes in the district’s fecal coliform tests.

In November 2005, government shooters began killing the gulls. Officials now scare the birds away with noise every morning, Lamie said.

About 800 gulls call the lake area home. Another 3,000 come and go with the seasons.

Many gulls have moved to quieter homes. About 200 gather at the north end of Taylor Pond. Another couple hundred or so gather around the Androscoggin River, near River Road.

Because Taylor Pond and the Androscoggin River don’t supply public drinking water, Lamie said, the birds aren’t such a problem there.

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