New County Deer Report Shows Slight Increase in Deer-Vehicle Collisions
New County Deer Report Shows Slight
Increase in Deer-Vehicle Collisions
Community Complaints Increase in Developed Areas
SILVER SPRING, MD—The Montgomery County Deer Management Work Grroup released its new annual report today on the impact of deer in the county with recommendations on managing deer impacts for Fiscal Year 2011, which began July 1. This new report shows a slight increase in deer-vehicle collisions in the county after a six year steady decline.
"Implementation of long-term, effective deer management strategies is continuing to hold some of the negative impacts of deer in Montgomery County at bay, but more efforts are likely needed in the future," said Montgomery County Department of Parks Natural Resources Manager and Chair of the Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group Rob Gibbs.
The Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group includes representatives from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Montgomery County Department of Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Montgomery County Cooperative Extension, Montgomery County Police Department, US Geological Survey (USGS), National Park Service and Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC). The group's annual report presents an overview of the county's deer management program, actions implemented since the program began in 1995 and lists specific recommendations for implementation in the upcoming fiscal year—both non-lethal and lethal strategies to manage deeer populations on public lands.
Deer-vehicle collisions (DVCs), recorded annually by the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD), are one indicator used to evaluate the effectiveness of deer management. After six years of slight decline, the 2009 DVCs count was 1,945, a 5 percent increase over 2008. Even with this increase, numbers are still 8 percent below the highest accident rates that occurred in 2002 and 2003. MCPD data follows:
"Data collected around parks where deer management is being conducted has demonstrated a reduction in DVCs adjacent to those parks," added Gibbs. "However, accidents have likely continued to increase slowly in areas where management is not yet implemented."
This year's report, recommends additional management, especially in some down-county areas where residents are still experiencing and reporting complaints of damage. These include lower Rock Creek Stream Valley, Sligo Creek Stream Valley, the Paint Branch-Colesville area, Potomac, Rockville and Olney. Based on citizen complaints in the Cabin John area parks staff will be investigating the problems and potential solutions in that area as well.
"Deer management is much more difficult to implement safely in down-county areas due to the smaller, narrower size of parks, the high density of adjacent houses, high level of public activity in the parks and the lack of resources needed to address these challenges," said Gibbs. "A variety of measures are being investigated to control deer numbers in these more urbanized areas but it continues to be a challenge not only in Montgomery County but in suburban areas across the nation."
In Fiscal Year 2010, managed deer hunting and Maryland-National Capital Park Police-based sharpshooting was conducted on 19 county parks, two state parks and WSSC land to reduce deer populations in locations experiencing a high level of deer related impacts.
Despite this year's budget difficulties, it is expected that deer management will continue in the same areas as last year. More details on this year's program will be released in early fall.
For more information about deer in Montgomery County, including a copy of this year's Deer Management Work Group annual report and recommendations see below. You may also comment on the report by emailing MCP-DeerManagement@MontgomeryParks.org or calling (301) 962-1341.
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