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Assembly wants DEC report on deer management

REPORTER FILE PHOTO

REPORTER FILE PHOTO

With a single dissenting vote, the New York State Assembly passed a bill requiring the Department of Environmental Conservation to report by January 1, 2019 on deer management practices in urban and suburban areas of the state.

Implementation of the bill only awaits a signature by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The bill was co-sponsored by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), who said the report should be based on the “best available scientific information.”

That includes:

• An evaluation of alternative methods of control other than hunting. That may include, but not be limited to capture and euthanization; capture and removal; and fertility control

• Methods of mitigating crop, vegetation and property damage from deer, including vehicle collisions

• Management measures taken by the DEC to minimize conflict between humans and deer

• Methods to enhance public engagement in and awareness of deer management issues

• Methods of reducing the spread of wildlife-transmitted illnesses such as Lyme disease

• Identification and evaluation of urban and suburban areas with a high concentration of deer

• An explanation of the basis for the DEC’s deer population management levels

• A review of effective management levels being taken in other states

“Deer overpopulation has become an increasing problem throughout the state,” Mr. Thiele said. “Traffic accidents, emptied gardens and tick-borne illnesses have all resulted due to the increase in the deer population throughout New York,” he said.

The DEC has largely left the problem to local governments to tackle and while the municipalities should have the last word about what happens in their communities, only the DEC has the resources to address the issues statewide, he said.

“The DEC needs to be a full partner in this effort,” the legislator said. “From a public health perspective, the increased incidence of tick-borne disease makes this legislation critically important,” Mr. Thiele said.

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