November 30, 2015
Contact: Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles
, (202) 619-7177
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rock Creek Park Superintendent Tara Morrison announced today that the upcoming window of action for deer reduction in the park will be December 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016. This is part of the continued implementation of 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 resource management specialists and in coordination with the U.S. Park Police and local law enforcement to conduct reduction actions at night when the park is normally closed.
This is the fourth operational window of implementing the park's deer management plan. Since 2013, the National Park Service has successfully and safely reduced the park's deer population from nearly 80 per square mile 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 vegetation and other wildlife. Without continued management, deer populations would quickly rebound and again eat nearly all vegetation seedlings before they could grow. Department of Interior scientists continue to monitor vegetation response to fewer deer, which will help inform future 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, that calls for quickly reducing the density of deer to support long-term protection and restoration of native vegetation 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 Dr.;Ridge Rd. south of Grand Rd.;Glover Rd. south of the Rock Creek Horse Center;and Horse Stable Rd. The following additional temporary closures between 8:30 p.m. and 4 a.m. may be in effect during operations: Beach Drive from Rock Creek &Potomac Pkwy. to the Maryland boundary; 17th street from the Woodner Apartment to Piney Branch Pkwy.; Piney Branch Pkwy; Porter St. ramp to Beach Dr. east of Williamsburg Ln.; Blagden Ave. west of Mathewson Dr.; Broad Branch Rd. east of Ridge Rd.; Wise Rd.; entire length of Glover Rd.; entire length of Ridge Rd.; Grand Rd.; Sherrill Dr.; Joyce Rd.; Morrow Dr.; West Beach Dr. at Parkside Dr.; Stage Rd.; and Bingham Dr.