6-13-2011 Meeting Minutes

 

Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance

P.O. Box 186

Georgetown, CT 06829

 

Wilton Town Hall Annex

Meeting June 13, 2011

 

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Streit at 10:35 a.m.

 

The following board members were in attendance:

David Streit, Redding – Chairman

Pat Sesto, Wilton – Treasurer

Kent Haydock, Darien

Dave Shugarts, Newtown

Ray Sementini, Ridgefield

Colin Kelly, Westport

Peter Knight, Westport

Laurie McGrath, Darien

Tom McGrath, Darien

 

Additional attendees: Mike and Lyn Gorfunkle

 

I.Approval of Minutes

On motion duly made and seconded, the minutes of the February 14th, 2011 meeting, having been circulated, were approved.

 

II.Welcome and Introduction

Chairman David Streit welcomed all present and introduced two new members, Tom and Laurie McGrath from Darien.

 

III.Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer, Pat Sesto, reported a balance of $6, 493.00

 

IV.Town Reports

Ridgefield. Ray Sementini reported that they held their meeting a week ago. The Board of Selectmen has now approved 11 deer management sites. Letters will be sent to adjoining properties, followed by two meetings which will give residents opportunities to voice concerns.

Wilton.Pat Sesto reported that they have two new members on the Wilton Deer Management Advisory Board. This fall they intend to resume management efforts on town properties and to continue to expand their program to manage deer on private properties.

Newtown.Dave Shugarts reported that the Newtown Deer Management Committee report will be finished in early July at which time it will go to the Selectman.

Darien.Kent Haydock reported that the Ridgefield article that he submitted on the Lyme disease epidemic was well received. A close friend of Kent’s in a marketing position for a large multi-national corp emphasized the need to keep the need for deer management focused on the health benefits achieved by reducing deer density levels back to target levels of 10-12 deer per square mile as. Kent advocated more letters to the editor as a follow-up to the articles that have appeared in Ridgefield and recently in Darien. Incorporating examples like Vet. Robert Nyman, whose life has been virtually ruined by Lyme, would underscore the seriousness of Lyme disease and the need for effective remedies to curb its spread.

Kent also recommended more meetings to share ideas and organize a planned educational committee to reach the general public.

Westport. Colin Kelly reported that there will be a meeting in Westport run by Jeff Wagner (Environment and Human Protection) at 7:30 on June 29th at the Town Hall. The meeting is in response to a petition signed by residents in support f the need to address the deer/Lyme situation. Westport is the only town in Connecticut that doesn’t currently allow hunting. Colin has passed articles along in an effort to educate community members on the seriousness of the issue and the need to develop a town plan for deer management.

Redding. Dave Streit reported on the successful interview he had last week that was run repetitively on 880 AM on the initiatives of the Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance.

 

V.Deer Density Discussion

The Redding Pilot will be covering results of the “Deer Density Report” (i.e. increased density). Of all the Fairfield County areas, the southern section of Redding-Ridgefield area seems to be the most stable, with one fewer deer counted than in 2009. The northern part of Redding saw in increase with 5 more deer counted than in 2009. Newtown has shown the largest increase (70 deer per square mile to 100). Most deer census numbers aren’t completely accurate for a number of challenging reasons, but they can clearly show trends. Dave Shugarts (Newtown) gave many statistics and examples of deer surveys, delineating the inherent challenges and costs and reiterated the point that surveys can only show trends. In most cases, aerial surveys understate deer density levels. A crucial point to remember in any discussion of surveys, hunts, etc, is that a well-managed deer plan of 5 years or more will eventually mean fewer deer killed in 5 years than by doing nothing.

 

VI.Recruitment Drive

Bethel – will be adding some new people

Easton – Position still open; looking for members

Bridgeport – Position is open

Greenwich – Need to contact Denise and see what her plans are going forward

New Canaan –Laurie McGrath will actively look for recruits

Norwalk – Position is open

Weston – Position is open

 

VII.Future Meetings and plans

Next meeting will be at the Wilton Town Hall Annex, August 8th, 2011 at 10:30am

 

VIII.Other Items

Our main challenge is “How to create greater public awareness?” There is a groundswell of support for lowering deer density levels in Fairfield County. The challenge of the Alliance at this point is to educate people on what can be done and how to go about getting it done.

 

The Alliance intends to focus on encouraging the DEP to include private landowners in PA 03-192. This would allow private landowners to manage their deer problem outside the recreational hunting season in the same way afforded town properties, not for profit organizations and homeowners associations.

 

We are encouraging each town to submit a letter signed by their selectmen similar to the one that Redding, Brookfield and Ridgefield have signed requesting help from the DEP in putting together a town wide management plan to return deer densities to 10-12 deer per sq mile.

 

It is a natural progression for towns seeking to manage the problems resulting from excessive deer to request help from the DEP. The DEP has the tools to solve the problem.

 

Ray Sementini will work with Erin McKenna to contact Land Trusts across CT and determine how they are managing their deer problems.

 

Colin Kelly (Westport) questioned about the proper filing of the minutes of our meetings. Dave Shugarts said town clerks are contacted ahead of meetings and our agendas are sent to them.

 

Meeting was adjourned at 12:00.