Saturday, July 23, 2011

What Do You Think About Local Deer Overpopulation?

Public Hearings On Deer Control At Jockey Hollow

The National Park Service (NPS) seeks comments from the public as it develops a new plan for controlling the exploding deer population at Morristown National Historical Park (NHP – Jockey Hollow).

According to a recent press release, the Vegetation and White-tailed Deer Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (plan/EIS) will be designed with the goal of promoting the natural regeneration of hardwood forest that reflect the natural and historic diversity of the park.

NPS will hold two public hearings about the White-tailed Deer EIS that we encourage you to attend:

White-tailed Deer EIS Public Comment Hearing #1
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

White-tailed Deer EIS Public Comment Hearing #2
Thursday, July 28, 2011
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Both hearings will take place at Morristown NHP, Washington’s Headquarters Museum, 30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ  07960.

Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) wants to remind you that local deer populations run as high as 70 to 100 deer per square mile. That’s 7 to 10 times the number of deer most of the land in our region is equipped to support.  Left unchecked our deer could strip away certain native plants and subsequently crowd out other wildlife sharing the same food and habitat.  Such a loss of biodiversity has profoundly negative implications for local soil and water quality.  Soil erosion increases and the composition of nutrients and minerals entering the water supply change dramatically.

Controlling deer overpopulation is possible.  GSWA’s Conservation Management Area (CMA) in Harding Township provides examples of successful deer-control techniques, including the construction of an effective deer exclosure fence that prevents herds from doing major damage. After installing the fence, GSWA scientists and volunteers noticed a marked increase in native plant growth at the CMA.  This has brought us one step closer to providing New Jersey with another 53 acres of biodiverse open space to serves as healthy habitat for migratory birds, endangered amphibians and important insects.

Written comments on NPS’s proposed White-tailed Deer EIS may be submitted through August 14 via the Internet at or by mailing them to Mr. Robert Masson, Biologist Morristown National Historical Park, 30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ 07960.

We hope you choose to make your voice heard on this important community issue.

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