The Block Island Times

Deer Tick Issue Hotter than Ever

By Block Island Residents Association | Aug 19, 2013

BIRA's Annual Meeting on Saturday, August 17 at the St. Andrew Parish Center was followed up by a heated discussion of the tick-borne illness crisis here on the island.  Many islanders suffering with these diseases asked Catherine Sparks of the Department of Environmental Management for action. She reported that the DEM has been discussing the problem with governmental doctors, and gave interested parties a direct email address so that they might ask questions directly of the doctors, since her education is in forestry. It was suggested that a medical person be added to their committee.  The DEM reps who spoke also reported that it's clear that our normal hunting activities haven't kept up with the deer population; it's now between 700 and 1000, and should be about 112-125 for a healthy herd and a healthier human population; she said that a more strategic approach is now being considered. Sterilization wouldn't be successful.  It was suggested by an islander that the DEM consider a professional hunt such as those that have been successful on other islands; another crowd member suggested they consider eradication of the herd rather than a drastic reduction; Ms. Sparks replied that eradication is not on the table at the moment, but that things could change. The DEM will continue in their new direction and report back to the island soon.

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