Help is on the way from New York State to tackle ticks by funding secured by Senator Ken LaValle (R-C-Port Jefferson) and Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) to fight Lyme and other tick-borne diseases through enhanced deployment of 4-poster units.The senator, who is co-chairman of the New York Senate Coalition Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases, announced Tuesday he has $150,000 for Shelter Island and North Haven to support 4-poster programs.
While Shelter Island has 38 units deployed this year — including six that are paid for and on the grounds of Mashomack Preserve and a few others paid for with private funding — North Haven hasn’t embraced the 4-poster program.
Village Board members there looked at the program in 2012, but resisted spending the money at the time. Shelter Island had offered to lease some of its 4-posters to North Haven, but the village never agreed to push forward with the program.
Just how much money is going to reach Shelter Island is unclear from the press release issued by Mr. LaValle, but there has been some indication that the Island could receive $100,000.
“With the high incidence of these tick-borne illnesses on the East End, we need to work to eradicate the disease and end the transmission to individuals,” the senator said. “I am hopeful that these two pilot programs will be successful,” he said.
“The extent and severity of the Lyme disease cases on the East End has escalated to the point of a public health crisis,” Mr. Thiele said. Working with Mr. LaValle and officials of the two municipalities, they have determined the money can best be used to expand “highly successful 4-poster programs,” he said.
Shelter Island began its program in 2008 in cooperation with Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension and 60 units were deployed here during 2008-10 while North Haven had no units and was the control site for the study.
Once the pilot program ended, Shelter Island continued its program, but sharply cut back on the number of units because of funding and has been gradually increasing its numbers ever since. But some members of the town’s Deer & Tick Committee have been learning toward curtailing the 4-poster program in favor of spending more money culling the deer herd.
Nonetheless, Supervisor Jim Dougherty embraced the expansion of the 4-poster effort.
“Once again Ken LaValle and Fred Thiele have come to the aid of Shelter Island providing us with much needed funds for our 4-poster program,” Mr. Dougherty said. “The fight against tick-related diseases goes on and Ken and Fred have provided critical assistance to our efforts.”
North Haven held extensive talks about 4-posters two years ago and finally appointed a committee in 2013 that recommended spending money to cull the herd, but not to deploy 4-posters because of the cost.
While Mayor Jeffrey Sander couldn’t be reached for comment about the state funds, the village’s website reported that the committee shied away from recommending 4-posters. The report said that in addition to cost, it was unclear that there could be enough sites to put the units and that it could interfere with hunting of deer.
“The majority of the committee felt that the most effective approach was to aggressively pursue herd reduction and that the 4-poster program is too expensive and difficult to implement,” according to the report.