Weston Conservation Commission to Vote on Deer Management
A public meeting is set for May 17.
The following information is from Weston Conservation Agent Michele Grzenda:
On Thursday, May 17, at 7:30 p.m., the Weston Conservation Commission will hold a public meeting to discuss and vote on whether to institute a deer management program on public land. The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the Community Center (20 Alphabet Lane). Members of the community will be welcome to attend and express their views.
The Conservation Commission hosted its first deer forum on October 27, 2011. That first forum featured Pat Huckery of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Barbara Roth-Schechter of the Dover Board of Health, and John Sklenak, chair of the Sudbury Conservation Commission. The speakers addressed the Massachusetts deer population and the methods available for deer management.
On December 11, 2011, the Conservation Commission hosted a public walk and educational program in which Thomas Rawinski, a botanist with the U.S. Forest Service, showed participants how to identify the extent of deer browse on the Sears Land in Weston. Participants also tagged sugar maple saplings. The numbered tags were logged into a spreadsheet; the Conservation Commission plans to annually measure the growth of these tagged saplings as part of a study to determine the extent of deer browse in parts of Weston’s conservation land.
The Commission held a second deer forum on February 16, 2012. Brian Donahue, a member of the Conservation Commission and an Associate Professor of American Environmental Studies at Brandeis University, discussed the long history of the relationship between people and deer in this region. Thomas Rawinski gave a presentation focusing on the ecological impacts of white-tailed deer in forests, and explored the human dimensions of the challenge of managing deer populations. In addition to the two speakers, the Commission presented the results of its online Deer Impact and Deer Sighting survey, which ran from November through January.
Taking into account its research on deer and the views expressed by members of the community, the Conservation Commission will decide at its May 17 public meeting whether to make a recommendation about deer management to the Board of Selectmen in June. The Board of Selectmen will make a determination as to future steps regarding deer. Please contact the Weston Conservation Commission at 781-786-5068 or at Conservation@westonmass.org for more information.