Cuyahoga Valley Deer Management Plan/EIS
The Final White-tailed Deer Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (Final Plan/EIS) for Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Park), a unit of the National Park Service (NPS), is now available. To access the Final Plan/EIS, click "Document List" on the left side of your screen.
Following the release of the Draft Plan/EIS, a 60-day public comment period was open between July 26, 2013, and September 24, 2013. All comments received were carefully considered. The Final Plan/EIS provides responses to substantive comments received and incorporates those comments and suggested revisions into the text of the Final Plan/EIS where appropriate.
The Final Plan/EIS considers four alternatives for the management of white-tailed deer at the Park. Under Alternative A (No Action), existing management actions would continue, including deer and vegetation monitoring, data management, and research. No new actions would occur to reduce the effects of deer overbrowsing. Alternative B (Combined Non-lethal Actions) would include all actions described under Alternative A and would incorporate a combination of nonlethal actions, including the construction of large-scale deer exclosures (fencing) for the purposes of forest regeneration. Nonsurgical reproductive control of does would be used to restrict population growth when this technology meets certain criteria. Alternative C (Lethal Actions) would include all actions described under Alternative A, and would add lethal deer management actions to reduce the herd size, including direct reduction of the deer herd by sharpshooting with firearms or by implementing capture and euthanasia of individual deer in certain circumstances where sharpshooting would not be appropriate.
Alternative D (Combined Lethal and Non-lethal Actions) is the NPS preferred alternative. Alternative D would include all actions described under Alternative A, and it would also incorporate a combination of lethal and nonlethal actions from Alternatives B and C. Sharpshooting and limited capture/euthanasia would be used initially to quickly reduce deer herd numbers. Then, population maintenance could be conducted either by nonsurgical reproductive control methods, if certain criteria are met, or by sharpshooting. Both of these population maintenance methods are retained as options in order to maintain maximum flexibility for future management.
A Record of Decision documenting the alternative that is selected for implementation will be signed by the Regional Director of the NPS Midwest Region no sooner than 30 days from the date of publication of the Notice of Availability of the Final Plan/EIS in the Federal Register by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Thank you for your continued interest in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Dr. Lisa Petit, Chief of Science and Resource Management, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 440-546-5970.