Deer Reduction Measure Begins in Rock Creek Park

By Amber Ferguson
|  Thursday, Mar 28, 2013  |  Updated 10:19 AM EDT
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Deer Reduction Measure Begins in Rock Creek Park

James Marvin Phelps/Flickr

Whitetail deer.

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The Rock Creek Park White-tailed Deer Management Plan to reduce the number of deer in Rock Creek Park begins Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will employ highly trained sharpshooters to conduct the deer reductions nightly through Saturday. Several roads will be closed temporarily overnight.

This effort “is a critical step toward ensuring the forest is able to support native plants and animals found in Rock Creek Park in a sustainable manner for this and future generations,” according to Rock Creek Park Superintendent Tara Morrison.

Earlier last year the National Park Service reached an agreement to refrain from killing any deer during the pending lawsuit with In Defense of Animals. That lawsuit was thrown out last week.

The number of deer in the park has increased drastically in the past 50 years. In 1960 there were only four sightings. The current plan calls for using active herd reduction measurements over the next three years to reduce the number of deer from over 70 per square mile to approximately 15-20 per square mile.

The deer are eating almost all of the tree seedlings and preventing the Rock Creek Park’s forest from growing.

The following road closures will be in effect from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. nightly through Saturday when sharpshooting is under way: Beach Drive north of Broad Branch Road, Ross Drive, Wise Road, Grant Road, Sherrill Drive, Joyce Road, Morrow Drive, and Bingham Road, NW.

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