Lyme Disease Washtenaw County Update
The Washtenaw County Health Department issued a media advisory on June 6, 2018 warning citizens about ticks that have the potential to spread Lyme disease, known as deer or blacklegged ticks, being found throughout Washtenaw County. The WCHD is urging residents to take steps to prevent tick bites, and to send ticks in for identification and testing.
Transmission season for Lyme disease in Michigan typically occurs from May through August, with a peak in June. There were 10 cases of Lyme disease among Washtenaw County residents in 2017. Two of these cases were likely exposed within the county. The others were likely exposed in other Michigan counties or outside of the state.
The Washtenaw County Health Department recommends the following precautions to prevent Lyme disease:
- Avoid direct contact with ticks: Walk in the center of trails and avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Tuck your pant legs into your socks.
- Repel ticks with DEET or Permethrin repellent: Use the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) insect repellent search tool to find the repellent that's right for you.
- Conduct tick checks: Examine your entire body, children, pets, and gear for ticks immediately after returning indoors. Be sure to check under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and in the hair. Prompt removal of ticks can prevent Lyme disease infection.
- Remove ticks: To remove a tick, use tweezers and grip the body firmly and pull straight out of the skin. Do not twist the tick. After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill any ticks you missed on your gear.
- Submit ticks for identification and testing: Not all ticks or tick species carry disease. You can now submit a photo of a tick to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for identification. You can also send in a live tick for identification and testing by the State. Or, stop by either of the Washtenaw County Health Department's locations (705 N Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, or 555 Towner Street, Ypsilanti) for a free kit to mail your tick to the lab. Michigan's five most common ticks can be seen here.
The deer ticks found in Washtenaw County were identified by the State through tick drags and residents' tick submissions.
Learn more at www.washtenaw.org/lyme
Impact and Management of White-Tailed Deer in Our Neighborhoods Presentation
On Jan. 26, 2018, Dr. Bernd Blossey, an Associate Professor at Cornell University, presented the "Impact and Management of White-Tailed Deer in Our Neighborhoods." The presentation is available to view online. The presentation was co-sponsored by the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.
Coexisting with Deer Tips
Even though this video wasn’t created in Ann Arbor, the tips and advice are still applicable to those who want to learn more about how to successfully coexist with deer. Check out the WildlifeNYC video “Tips for Coexisting with White-tailed Deer."
Tips for Protecting Your Yard and Garden from Deer and Rabbit Damage
During the spring of 2014, City Council directed Ann Arbor's City Administrator to develop deer management information with the assistance of community partners and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division (MDNR). The directive from Council arose as a result of numerous resident reports of deer damaging landscaping and natural areas as well as concerns regarding vehicle/deer collisions and deer-borne diseases.
On Aug. 14, 2014, the City Administrator provided to City Council the
Deer Management Options Report, which outlined the need to develop a community-endorsed deer management plan built upon community input and management options approved by the MDNR Wildlife Division, the public agency responsible for managing Michigan's deer.
On August 17, 2015, City Council approved the
Resolution to Establish a Deer Management Program within the City of Ann Arbor
for the next four years, including culls on City of Ann Arbor property beginning in the winter of 2016. In addition, City Council directed city staff to continue to explore the viability of a deer fertility control program with the Humane Society of the United States.
On October 16, 2017, City Council approved a resolution to contract with White Buffalo, Inc. for combined surgical sterilization and sharpshooting management services for the city’s
2018 deer management program.
Each year, Ann Arbor develops program objectives, which are displayed via the
Deer Data Dashboard.
To better understand the impacts of deer on the City's natural areas the City contracted with NatureWrite LLC. to conduct a deer browse. The
final report presents results from a pilot study, conducted in Ann Arbor natural areas from November 2015 through January 2017, focused on developing a clear metric for deer impacts to vegetation and assessing current levels of browse damage. An experimental approach of planting red oak "sentinel seedlings" across sites and tracking the proportion of experimental oak seedlings browsed by deer was used. This approach, established in the Cornell study (Blossey 2014), offers a useful indicator of current deer browse intensity, and comprises a clear metric that can be repeated annually to track how deer browse damage changes in response to deer management efforts.
To help consolidate deer related data and information an interactive
deer data tool was created to overlay significant pieces of information. Layers include deer crash data dating back to 2011, helicopter counts, parks closed for culling operations, sterilization zones, deer signage and other information regarding program activities. Users are able to overlay information geographically to create a better understanding of how information relates.
In an effort to provide data related to the goals and metrics of the program, a
deer data dashboard was created to provide feedback regarding the progress of the program and survey results regarding the success metrics.
Fourteen new deer-crossing signs have been installed in priority locations recommended by the deer education stakeholder group. Locations include: Washtenaw west Of Huron Parkway and east of Stadium; Huron Parkway between Hubbard and Washtenaw; and Plymouth Road between Green and Swift. The installation locations were based on analysis of deer-vehicle crash locations that have occurred during the last five years. Additional signage will be installed in the coming weeks to include changeable message signs that can warn motorists of frequent deer crossing locations.
Watch for Deer All Year
Don't Veer For Deer
SEMCOG Crash Data Search
Michigan Traffic Crash Facts