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Contact: Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, 202-619-7177
WASHINGTON- Today, the National Park Service (NPS) released the final version of its plan to manage white-tailed deer populations at Antietam and Monocacy national battlefields (Md.) and Manassas National Battlefield Park (Va.). The plan is now open for public review until September 3, 2014.
The purpose of the Battlefield Deer Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement (plan/FEIS) is to guide and direct NPS management actions of white-tailed deer at the three battlefield parks. The plan provides deer management strategies that preserve the cultural landscape by protecting and restoring native vegetation and other natural and cultural resources.
NPS prepared the plan/FEIS as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. In the plan/FEIS, the NPS describes and analyzes the environmental impacts of taking no new action (Alternative A), or following one of three action alternatives (Alternatives B, C and D), to manage the parks' deer population.
Alternative D, the NPS preferred alternative, includes certain non-lethal and lethal actions contained in the other alternatives to manage herd size. The preferred alternative calls for taking lethal actions initially to quickly reduce the deer herd numbers, but allows flexibility to consider population management with non-lethal means, such as reproductive control methods, if they are available and meet specific criteria. If no acceptable reproductive control methods are available, the NPS would continue to use trained sharpshooters to keep deer populations at a sustainable level.
During development of the plan/FEIS, which began in 2010, the NPS hosted three public meetings and held two public comment periods. The NPS planning team analyzed feedback received during the initial public scoping phase to begin drafting the plan, and convened a team of scientists to inform the planning process. Based on that input, the NPS developed the range of management alternatives and analyzed the impacts of those alternatives.
The public is invited to comment on the plan/FEIS until September 3, 2014. Written comments are preferred online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/anti or you can mail comments to the address below.
National Park Service