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Deer-culling plan based on false assumptions

http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20110202/VIEWPOINTS03/ 102020309/1129/viewpoints/Deer-culling+plan+based+on+false+assumptions

FEBRUARY 2, 2011

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is a deeply misleading document that cannot justify deer-culling in Cayuga Heights.

Take, for example, the argument that deer-culling is an effective method of reducing Lyme disease. The major supporting reference in DEIS is "The Tick Management Handbook" by the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station. However, the handbook contains no data applicable to Cayuga Heights. All the actual studies cited in the handbook were conducted at ecologically isolated sites: three peninsulas, one island, and one coastal area surrounded by salt marshes. There is strong scientific evidence that deer culling on mainland does not reduce the tick population, as ticks survive on other hosts.

On a personal note, we have lived in Cayuga Heights for 10 years, and deer regularly come through our yard where we planted shrubs, trees and flowers. The deer used to eat them, but we have mostly fixed the problem by replanting and using net fencing.

DEIS de-emphasizes such humane and effective alternatives to deer culling. Fencing, roadside reflectors, nonlethal tick-reduction methods and public education will go a long way in solving the deer-related problems. The ongoing village fencing ordinance revision is a very encouraging step in the right direction.

Dimitri and Irina Naydich

Ithaca

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