November 15, 2016
Contact: Emily Linroth
The upcoming window of action for deer reduction in Rock Creek Park will be November 15, 2016 through March 31, 2017. This is the fifth operational window for the Rock Creek Park White-tailed Deer Management Plan. Temporary night-time road closures will be in effect to provide for visitor and employee safety during reduction activities. Commuters, including cyclists, are advised to plan alternate routes.
Extensive safety measures will be in place to protect park visitors and neighbors during operations. Biologists, who are also highly trained firearms experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be working under the direction of National Park Service (NPS) resource management specialists and in coordination with U.S. Park Police and local law enforcement to conduct reduction actions at night when the park is normally closed.
The NPS has successfully and safely reduced the park’s deer population from nearly 80 per square mile in 2013 to an estimated 19 per square mile. A consistent deer population density of 15-20 per square mile is needed for a healthy, diverse forest that supports native plants and other wildlife. Without continued management, deer populations would quickly rebound and again eat nearly all tree seedlings and other plants before they could grow. Department of the Interior scientists continue to monitor how well plants are growing with fewer deer, and their findings will help inform ongoing deer management practices.
Over the past 20 years, an overabundant white-tailed deer population has negatively impacted Rock Creek Park. Prompted by a marked decline in forest regeneration, Rock Creek Park initiated a public process to create a plan, finalized in 2012, which calls for quickly reducing the density of deer to support long-term protection and restoration of native plants and to promote a healthy and diverse forest.
The following road closures in NW D.C. may be in effect from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. when operations are underway:
- Ross Drive
- Ridge Road south of Grant Road
- Glover Road south of the Rock Creek Horse Center
- Horse Stable Road
The following additional temporary closures between 8:30 p.m. and 4 a.m. may be in effect during operations:
- Beach Drive between Piney Branch Parkway and the Klingle Road/Porter Street interchange
- Beach Drive from Tilden Street to the Maryland boundary
- 17th Street from the Woodner Apartments to Piney Branch Parkway
- Piney Branch Parkway
- Porter Street ramp to Beach Drive east of Williamsburg Lane
- Blagden Avenue west of Mathewson Drive
- Broad Branch Road east of Ridge Road
- Wise Road
- Entire length of Glover Road
- Entire length of Ridge Road
- Grant Road
- Sherrill Drive
- Joyce Road
- Morrow Drive
- West Beach Drive at Parkside Drive
- Stage Road
- Bingham Drive
For more information, visit go.nps.gov/RockCreekDeer