News Release

National Park Service finalizes plan to manage deer populations in DC and Maryland parks

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Date: March 30, 2022
Contact: Sean McGinty, (202)941-9108

WASHINGTON — To protect and restore native plants and promote healthy and diverse forests, the National Park Service (NPS) will implement a deer management plan in additional national parks in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Using feedback received during public engagement periods, the NPS has completed evaluations for the White-tail Deer Management Plan and Environmental Assessment in National Capital Parks – East, which includes Anacostia Park, Greenbelt Park, Fort Washington Park and other parks.  

The plan will guide white-tailed deer management to support long-term protection, preservation, and restoration of native plants and natural and cultural landscapes in the parks. In forests, deer can significantly reduce forest regeneration by eating tree seedlings and preventing them from growing into saplings. Over time, this can degrade forests and the habitat they provide for other animals and plants.

The White-tailed Deer Management Plan applies to the following parks:  

Maryland: Fort Washington Park, Fort Foote, Piscataway Park (including Marshall Hall and National Colonial Farm), Oxon Cove Park (including Oxon Hill Farm and Oxon Run Parkway), Harmony Hall, Greenbelt Park, Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Suitland Parkway. 

Washington, D.C.: Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, Fort Mahan, Fort Dupont, Fort Davis, Fort Chaplin, Fort Stanton, Fort Ricketts, Fort Greble, Battery Carroll and Shepherd Parkway. 

While NPS has now completed this Deer Management Plan, there are currently no deer management operations scheduled for parks managed by National Capital Parks – East. The NPS will notify the public before any operations take place.  

Several national parks in the metropolitan area have already approved and implemented deer management plans. Rock Creek Park has seen tree seedling densities almost triple since starting deer management. Catoctin Mountain Park has actively worked to reduce deer populations in the park since 2010 and has seen a 13-fold increase in seedling density over the past 12 years. 

The NPS completed the Environmental Assessment for the National Capital Parks – East Deer Management Plan on Oct. 6, 2021, and signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on March 25, 2022. The FONSI describes why the selected plan will have no significant effects on the environment; provides the rationale for the decision; and outlines conservation measures that will be taken to avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts.    

The FONSI and other planning documents are available online. 



Last updated: March 31, 2022

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