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Providence Water & White Tailed Deer The Study Deer Management Goals & Options Tunk Hill Deer Management Coop Area Monitoring.

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Presentation on theme: "Providence Water & White Tailed Deer The Study Deer Management Goals & Options Tunk Hill Deer Management Coop Area Monitoring."— Presentation transcript:

1 Providence Water & White Tailed Deer The Study Deer Management Goals & Options Tunk Hill Deer Management Coop Area Monitoring

2 The Study 2008 Contracted with Natural Resource Consultants (NRC) to –Evaluate Deer Impacts on 1,000 acres –Determine if Deer are Overabundant Given our Goals –If found to be Overabundant Develop Recommendations

3 The Study Overabundant Wildlife is Defined as When One Species Limits the Abundance or Occurrence of Another Valued Resource or Interferes with some Valued Ecological Process or Human Activity.

4 The Study NRC Chose to Concentrate on Deer Impacts to the Forest Rather than Deer Density Used SILVAH Developed by the US Forest Service –Quantitative –Analytical – Evaluates Forest Regeneration and Deer Impacts –Compares to Established Standards

5 The Study When Evaluating Deer Browse Look At Deer impact levels Amount of food available

6 The Study SILVAH Defines 5 Levels of Deer Impacts 1.None – found only inside fenced areas 2.Low 3.Medium 4.High 5.Very High – Preferred browse plants are absent, and abundance of non-preferred vegetation is reduced by browsing. Browse resilient plants show signs of heavy repeated browsing

7 The Study Eight Stands Within Study Area Selected Transects Established Plots Sampled –6 radius plots –Hardwood seedlings w/ 2 or more leaves –Conifer seedlings –Current deer impacts on vegetation –Amount of preferred browse present –Amount & condition of non-preferred browse

8 The Study All Stands Evaluated by NRC Ranked as Having a HIGH IMPACT LEVEL. Preferred browse plant species were rare while non-preferred and browse resilient vegetation was limited in height growth by deer browsing.

9 The Study Amount of Food Available Based on –Current browse impacts –Amount of preferred woody browse –Land use (other sources of food) within one mile Food Availability Ranked as LOW

10 The Study Need More Seedlings the Higher the Deer Impact Level and the Lower the Food Availability. A Forest Needs at Least 70% of Sampled Plots to Meet the Standards to be Considered Able to Restock Itself

11 The Study With a High Deer Impact Level & Low Food Availability Need: +15 conifer seedlings per plot or +50 other desirables or +100 new oaks or +50 established oaks

12 The Study Stand# Plots# Plots w/ 0 seedlings # Stocked plots needed # Plots adequately stocked New a Stand# Plots# Plots w/ 0 seedlings # Stocked plots needed # Plots adequately stocked

13 Conclusion Given Our Primary Mission and Our Dependence on the Successful Management of the Forest to Meet that Mission and the Current Conflict Between Deer Impacts and Forest Management, it is Clear that by Definition that Deer are OVERABUNDANT in the Study Area

14 NRC Deer Management Goals for PWSB Maintain deer as a valued component of the forest while implementing a restoration plan that restores, maintains, and protects the structure, diversity, and function of the forest Reduce the potential for exotic invasive plants

15 Deer Management Goals Reduce deer-auto strikes Manage deer in a safe, humane, and responsible manner Establish a monitoring program to assess impacts and guide deer impact reduction efforts

16 Options No Action – Not Recommended Mitigation Techniques (Fencing, Repellents) – Not Recommended Restore Predators – Not Recommended Trap & Transfer – Not Recommended Contraception – Not Recommended

17 Options Human Directed Mortality 1.Trap and euthanasia – Not recommended 2.Sharpshooters – Not recommended 3.Agricultural damage permits – Not recommended 4.Recreational Hunters – Recommended 1.Public hunting 2.Controlled hunt 3.Hunting leases

18 PWSB Watershed Staff Recommends Controlled Hunt Over Other Options On March 17, 2010 The Providence Water Supply Board Authorized the Implementation of a Deer Impact Control Program Throughout the Watershed Property

19 Tunk Hill Deer Management Coop Area Encompasses Approximately 1,000 Acres Deer Hunting by Permit Only Number of Permits Will be Limited to 50 for the 2010 – 2011 Season DEM Will Receive Applications and Conduct Lottery if Necessary Follows DEM Seasons for Deer Hunting

20 Tunk Hill Deer Management Coop Area For Those with Permits Allows 1.Archery – September 15 to January 31 2.Muzzleloader – November 6 to November 28 and December 26 to January 2 3.Shotgun – December 4 to December 12 and December 26 to January 2

21 Tunk Hill Deer Management Coop Area An Antlerless Deer Must be Harvested Prior to Taking a Buck Will be an Ongoing Effort Not Just One Year Other Areas Being Impacted by Overabundant Deer Will be Added as Other Coop Areas in Future Years if Appropriate

22 Goal is Ecosystem Balance, not Recreation

23 Monitoring - What Do We Measure? Vegetation Monitoring Plots within Area –Six transects with 6 permanent plots on each have been established –Each transect will have an additional adjacent plot that will be fenced to exclude deer –Each plot is 11meter radius where all vegetation greater than 4.5 tall is measured –A 1.78 meter radius sub plot with the same center established where all seedlings and herbaceous plants are counted

24 What Do We Measure? Deer Exclosures Ensure the Changes in Vegetation are the Result of Changing Deer Numbers Provides a Measure of the Potential Seedling and Herbaceous Diversity, Density, and Height Guides Deer Removal Either up or down

25 What Do We Measure? RI DEM Baseline Herd Density Estimates Spotlight survey Aerial counts in winter Onsite remote sensing equipment (motion cameras)

26 Success When Deer Impacts are Reduced so Similar Species Richness, Structure, and Flowering are Found in Fenced and Unfenced Plots Deer Impacts are Reduced so Tree Regeneration Meets Quantitative Standards Deer-Auto Strikes are Reduced Around the Forest

27 Questions?

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