December 15, 2015 - In August, City Council approved the establishment of Ann Arbor's deer management program, which includes culling deer on city property in Wards 1 and 2 during the next four years. The city has contracted with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS), whose marksmen will cull and remove up to 100 deer from pre-designated City of Ann Arbor parks and nature areas beginning on January 2**, 2016.
*Earlier this week, the City of Ann Arbor issued information about parks and natural areas in Wards 1 and 2 that will be closed Jan. 2** to March 1**, 2016, in order for the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS) marksmen to cull and remove up to 100 deer.*
*City staff has heard community concerns and feedback and wants to remind all citizens that the No. 1 priority remains public safety. In light of the information received and in coordination with the USDA-APHIS, one modification to the deer management program is being made. All parks and natural areas will remain open Saturdays and Sundays.*
*In addition, answers to the following questions have been added to the FAQs available online:
1. What happens if someone disregards a park's closure?
Violations of park rules are evaluated on a case by case basis. In the case of deer management activities, safety is the city's No. 1 priority and Ann Arbor Police will respond accordingly to individuals who violate park closures.
2. If cull activities are completed before March 1**, will the parks reopen?
Yes. All parks will reopen and residents will be notified if cull activities are completed before March 1**.
3. Who authorized the park closures?
Chapter 39 of the Ann Arbor City Code, Section 3:3 authorizes park closures by the Community Services Area Administrator, Public Services Area Administrator or designee. The Community Services Area Administrator authorized designated parks to be closed during specific times from Jan. 2** to March 1**, 2016 to ensure safety during deer management activities.
4. Will walking and biking trails be closed in designated parks?
Yes. Safety is the city's No. 1 priority during deer management activities. Therefore, all walking and biking trails located within designated parks will be closed. There are 47 additional parks within Wards 1 and 2 that remain open regular hours. However, commuters who routinely use trails within the closed parks will instead need to seek alternative routes during this time. Parks will reopen if cull activities are completed before March 1** and residents will be notified.*
The following City of Ann Arbor parks and nature areas (PDF**) will be closed for deer control efforts from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. *Monday through Friday* from January 2** to March 1**, 2016. *All parks will remain
open on Saturdays and Sundays.* Parks that include the border-to-border trail also will remain open.**
- Arbor Hills Nature Area
- Barton Nature Area
- Bird Hills Nature Area
- Black Pond Woods Nature Area
- Bluffs Nature Area
- Braun Nature Area
- Cedar Bend Nature Area
- Dhu Varren Woods Nature Area
- Foxfire South Nature Area
- Foxfire West Nature Area
- Furstenberg Nature Area
- Huron Parkway Nature Area
- Kuebler Langford Nature Area
- Leslie Park Golf Course
- Leslie Woods Nature Area
- Narrow Gauge Nature Area
- Oakridge Nature Area
- Oakwoods Nature Area
- Olson Park - Dog park will remain open during its regular hours.
- Onder Nature Area
- Ruthven Nature Area
- South Pond Nature Area
- Stapp Nature Area
- Traver Creek Nature Area
Signage will be posted at impacted park and nature area entrances to notify visitors of closures; *and this
information can also be found on the deer
management program Web page.* Residents living near designated parks or nature areas will be informed of these closures directly via postcard. In addition, the City's Communication Office will utilize local media, social media, Community Television Network, the city's website and email notifications to inform citizens of these park closures.
USDA and city staff worked together to identify cull sites based upon specific criteria including:
Size and shape of the city-owned property
Surrounding land-use and housing density
Proximity to neighbors
Ease of access
Attractiveness of the location for deer
All deer cull activities will be performed by highly experienced USDA-APHIS marksmen who are specially trained to conduct a cull in an urban setting with precision, accuracy and safety as top priorities.
Practice a principle of "SHE" – safe, humane, effective
Are experienced in a wide variety of wildlife damage and disease issues, including deer removal in urban and other sensitive areas
Must pass stringent firearms safety and proficiency qualifications before using firearms, and re-qualify regularly
Are trained and equipped with the latest tools and techniques to reduce disturbance and allow for efficient and safe deer removal
Can commit full time and attention to accomplishing established goals
Are trained on proper single shot selection to effectively and humanely take deer
Are trained Wildlife Biologists and Wildlife Specialists, most with educational backgrounds in Wildlife or Natural Resources management
Must complete comprehensive background checks and drug testing prior to employment
The goal of Ann Arbor's deer management program is to decrease the deer population in Ann Arbor in order to reduce deer-human negative interactions and support biological diversity in natural areas. The City is also answering frequently asked questions in a document, which is available at www.a2gov.org/deermanagement.
Note: ** indicates updates to this news item made Dec. 28, 2015.
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