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Contact: Lindsay Ries
Fire Island, New York –Together with the National Park Service (NPS), researchers from the State University of New York School of Environmental Science and Forestry have begun a White-tailed Deer Movement Study on Fire Island. In phases over the course of three years, researchers will fit 75 female deer with small GPS-enabled radio-collars to track how the animals move about the island.
The GPS data points collected from the collared deer will provide information on the animal's movement and use of various habitats on Fire Island. The collars are designed to automatically release from the animals after about 10 months. Radio frequency transmitters affixed to the collars will allow park staff to monitor the health and safety of each deer on a weekly basis during the 10 month period. In 2014, 15 deer will be collared; 30 deer will be collared each year in 2015 and 2016.The Deer Movement Study is part of a larger three-year research project developed in response to Hurricane Sandy. The project focuses on four locations across the island impacted by the storm, exploring the effects of sand deposition, salt water infusion, and white-tailed deer on the re-establishment of maritime vegetation. In addition, the Deer Movement Study will complement existing deer population and vegetation monitoring efforts essential to the development and implementation of the Fire Island National Seashore Deer Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (Deer Plan/EIS) due out this summer for public review and comment. The Deer Plan/EIS will address issues associated with the number, distribution, and behavior of deer on Fire Island.