HIRA was most pleased with the turnout, 56 people, on October 8 that included Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek, Deputy Mayor Pat Norris and Councilor Matt Fiene to listen to Ms. Emily Gonzales, PhD, Ecosystem Scientist/Park Ecologist, St. Lawrence Islands National Park. Thank you to all who attended.
Dr. Gonzales’ presentation was most informative and the attached is a synopsis of her presentation. The question and answer period was lively and very helpful in moving forward with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and islanders. Other reference material included the August 4 issue of MACLEAN’s, ‘The Bambi Epidemic’ (“Now that we’re being overrun with deer, they don’t seem so cute”); the August 15 editorial in the Whig-Standard, Learn about Lyme disease’ (“The concern now is that blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks are extending their territory…”); the October 1 issue of the Nantucket Independent, ‘When tick-borne disease hits home’ (“This year alone, 338 confirmed cases of tick-borne diseases have been diagnosed at Nantucket Cottage Hospital, a sharp increase from last year’s totals, which saw 275 people diagnosed with babesiosis, Lyme disease or ehrlichiosis”). While Dr. Gonzales doesn’t have jurisdiction on Howe Island, she has offered to show us the set-up on Hill Island as the residents and federal government staff continue to manage the population of white-tailed deer.
While it was clear at times that there are “cultural” differences between land owners and hunters, overall, nearly everyone who spoke seemed to agree that there are too many deer and that reducing the population would be beneficial.
HIRA’s next steps…to confirm a committee that would represent stakeholders on Howe Island (gardeners, hunters, farmers, waterfront owners, inland owners); HIRA board to meet with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; meet with committee and HIRA board to agree to next steps.
If you have any comments, please contact me.