Mayor Walsh asks for continued public input and involvement
In a meeting with the Syracuse Common Council today, City of Syracuse officials reported results of the deer management program during 2019-20. Syracuse was one of five municipalities in Onondaga County that conducted deer management last winter.
The City reported that 159 deer were removed during the months of December, January, February and March. The program was able to provide more than 4,000 pounds of venison, equivalent to about nearly 16,250 meals for donation. The work, funded by Onondaga County, was completed by wildlife managers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA submitted a summary report to the City this spring.
Deer management is one component of the City’s integrated Tick and Deer Management Plan. Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh appointed a citizen’s advisory group to make recommendations on how to address the impacts of deer overpopulation, including deer-motor vehicle accidents; damage to the local ecosystem, gardens and parks; and public health risks such as Lyme Disease.
“The growth of the deer population has occurred over many years, creating greater concern among residents,” Mayor Walsh said. “Deer management is important work we need to undertake in the interest of public health and safety. I thank the Common Council, County Executive McMahon, the County Legislature, and our state partners for supporting the program, as well as the residents who have participated in the process. We will continue to need public involvement as this work continues in the years ahead.”
“This effort has been an example of great partnerships,” said Joe Driscoll, Fifth District Common Councilor. “This plan was spearheaded by neighbors, relying heavily on community engagement; and contributions from all levels of government: city, county, state, and federal. Really rewarding after having so many folks working on this and pulling the rope in the same direction, to see the plan implemented with such great success and positive results.”
The long term plan, authorized by Mayor Walsh and the Common Council, also recommends public outreach and education. Working with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County and with the support of Onondaga County, the City conducted eight public workshops during the late fall and winter.
The Tick and Deer Management Advisory Group will reconvene this summer to develop updated recommendations for the program moving forward. The plans will be reported to the Common Council and the Mayor for approval later this year.