Mayor will work with Common Council and community members to develop and implement a tick and deer management plan

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announced actions to address the public safety and public health issues affecting neighborhoods from the tick and deer population in the City. The steps were discussed Monday at a special meeting of the Syracuse Common Council on the tick and deer problem in the City.

The Walsh administration is working with Council members, concerned neighbors, Cornell Cooperative Extension, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, US Department of Agriculture, and Onondaga County, to determine the proper steps to address the impacts of the growing tick and deer populations in Syracuse. While deer are present in nearly every part of the City, neighborhoods on the east and west sides report the highest populations.  Concerns reported to the City focus on debilitating incidences of Lyme disease affecting both young and old people; motor vehicle accidents involving deer; and damage to property.

“The tick and deer population in the city presents a real threat to people’s health and safety,” said Mayor Walsh. “It’s taken a long time for the problem to reach this serious level, so we need to work together now as a community to take action. Reducing the negative impacts of the high tick and deer populations will take time.”

Mayor Walsh proposed a $75,000 allocation in his fiscal year 2020 budget proposal to fund implementation of a tick and deer management plan. The expenditure will be reimbursed by Onondaga County.

On Monday, Mayor Walsh announced he will appoint a Tick and Deer Management Advisory Group consisting of Syracuse residents with knowledge in family health, medicine, law, and the tick and deer issue in the City. The Mayor will charge the group with studying existing plans and proposals; conducting a public information meeting, and recommending a tick and deer management plan by June 1st.

The Mayor will request that the group to consider all options, including but not limited to: tick population measurement; deer culling and fertility control; landscape and habitat management; and public outreach and education. The group will be assisted by the Onondaga County Department of the Environment and Cornell Cooperative Extension. The Mayor will also ask the group to consult with the office of New York State Assemblywoman Pam Hunter, who has done extensive work to address the tick and deer issue in the city. Prior to implementation, the plan will be reviewed and approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 

The Walsh Administration, in coordination with Fifth District Councilor Joe Driscoll, will also ask the Council at its April 22 regularly scheduled meeting to approve a revised ordinance that would enable to the City to use city property for deer management.

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