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Contact: John Dell’Osso, 415-464-5135
As a follow up to last year’s surveys, on Wednesday, January 16th, park biologists will fly over the entire Point Reyes National Seashore to acquire an accurate count of non-native deer. In case of rain, a backup date of Thursday, January 24th has been set. The National Park Service has proposed a count of all axis (Axis axis) and fallow deer (Dama dama) in Point Reyes National Seashore using a helicopter. Simultaneously with the aerial counts, observers will count deer from the ground in multiple census units in order to estimate sightability of deer in a variety of habitats. Counts would be used to produce scientific population counts for both species of non-native deer. This data, along with range and demographic information gained from fieldwork, will allow park management to draft a plan for the management of the non-native deer species after public input is received.
“The intention of these aerial counts is to gain sound, scientific knowledge on the number of non-native deer and their distribution,” stated Superintendent Don Neubacher.
Potential impacts to listed species would be minimized by the timing of the aerial operations during non-nesting season for northern spotted owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) and snowy plovers (Charadrius alexandrius), and by-passing of pinniped haul-out beaches by ¼ mile. Visual, aesthetic and safety impacts to the public would be minimized by a temporary closure of Seashore campgrounds for the duration of the helicopter operation, and by the helicopter’s avoidance of local communities and ranch buildings.