Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NEW YORK NEWS: Village Seeks Deer Management Consultant

I am not accepting new clients at this time. -TR

The Cayuga Heights village board's environmental assessment on its plan to reduce the deer herd is available on the village website.

The trustees formally adopted the assessment, which is required by state regulations, on March 27, Mayor Kate Supron said.

The village must now find a consultant to conduct further study on the two issues the board deemed as having a "significant effect on the environment," which are the reduction in deer population by approximately 150 deer, and the public controversy over that proposal, Supron said.

The trustees' environmental impact statement lays out the case they've made for sterilizing 20-60 does in the village, then culling or killing the rest of the deer herd. It includes supportive statements from Cornell Lab of Ornithology director John Fitzpatrick and Cornell Plantations botanist and natural areas manager Robert Wesley, among others.

In Wesley's statement, he asserts that diverse native plant species have "dwindled greatly or disappeared" as the deer population has grown.

"I believe that reducing the density of deer could only have a positive effect on any or all rare, threatened or endangered plant species in the area," he wrote.

Fitzpatrick wrote that "the white-tailed deer population boom has reached a stage I now describe as 'menacing' for biodiversity." Deer impact on understory plants reduces and eliminates habitat for a variety of bird species, he wrote.

The village's environmental assessment asserts that most villagers support the plan, citing recent village elections and an October public hearing. It also acknowledges strong opposition to the plan by some villagers and residents of surrounding municipalities, which has been organized primarily through the citizen's group

James LaVeck and Jenny Stein of criticized the trustees' assessment for choosing only two issues as worthy of further study.

"What does it say about the Cayuga Heights trustees that they are willing to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to a consultant to perform a study of 'public controversy,' and not a penny to obtain expert advice on the potential dangers of discharging deadly weapons hundreds of times near residences and roadways?" they wrote in an e-mail Tuesday.

The village sent out a request for proposals to 10 consulting firms, but has not yet heard back from anybody, Supron said. Because of the uncertainty in finding a consultant, Supron said she couldn't provide an estimate on when the village might enact its deer plan.

"I was quite hopeful that it would be well under way by now," she said.

Source: Ithaca Journal

No comments: