SILVER SPRING, MD—The Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group released its new annual report today on the impact of deer in the county with recommendations on managing deer impacts for the upcoming year. This new report shows a continued slow decline in deer-vehicle collisions in the county for the seventh year in a row, but also calls attention to an increase in resident complaints about deer damage, particularly in Montgomery County’s more urbanized areas.
“Despite effective deer management strategies reducing deer-human conflicts countywide, residents especially in some down-county areas are increasingly reporting deer-related damage,” said Montgomery County Department of Parks Natural Resources Manager and Chair of the Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group Rob Gibbs. “In these more urbanized areas, deer management is more involved and difficult to implement safely due to the smaller, narrower parks, high density of adjacent houses and high level of public activity in these park areas.”
This new report points out that resident calls have increased this past year with complaints about deer-damage around lower Rock Creek Stream Valley, Sligo Creek Stream Valley, the Paint Branch-Colesville area, Potomac, Rockville and Olney.
“These areas pose a real challenge for safe deer population management and Montgomery County is not alone in investigating how to control deer numbers in more urbanized areas,” added Gibbs. “This is an issue challenging suburban areas across the nation.”
The good news is, according to Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) data outlined in the report, Montgomery County has seen a slight decrease in deer-vehicle collisions (DVCs) for the seventh year in a row despite the steady increase in numbers of county residents, automobiles, miles of roads and vehicle miles traveled. The MCPD data shows the following:
Year DVCs reported by MCPD
MCPD keeps the most comprehensive and systematically collected data set on the number of deer-vehicle collisions in the county.
“Other indications that we’re seeing measurable success in managing deer in the county include significantly lower deer numbers in county and state parks in which population management has been conducted in recent years,” said Gibbs. “This has resulted in significantly fewer deer-vehicle collisions around these parks along with less damage to farm crops, natural vegetation and home landscapes.”
Due to budget constraints associated with the recession, no new parklands are expected to be added for deer management this fiscal year (July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010). However, all existing programs are planned to be continued. The Department of Parks will announce county park locations for deer management shortly after Labor Day.
The goal of the Montgomery County deer management program is to reduce deer-human conflicts in the county by: reducing the number of deer-vehicle collisions; reducing damage by deer to agricultural crops and home landscapes; reducing damage by deer on natural communities to preserve native plant and animal diversity; and providing county residents with information. The county’s 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.
Annually, this work group produces a report on the status of the county’s deer management program, in which it includes recommendations for managing deer in the upcoming year. For a copy of this year’s report and recommendations or to comment see www.ParksDeerManagement.org, email MCP-DeerManagement@MontgomeryParks.org or call (301) 949-2909.
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Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks