Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R,C,I-Riverhead) spearheaded a press conference today discussing the environmental and public health crises caused by the deer overpopulation problem on the north fork of eastern Long Island. A recent but rapid rise in deer numbers on Long Island, with no immediate way to control the population growth, has led to problems like an equally large population growth for ticks, which have the capacity to rapidly spread Lyme disease to those enjoying their summer days.
The other immediate concern is the number of deer continuing to cross dangerous and busy roads like the Long Island Expressway. Traffic collisions are a greater threat for all Long Islanders as long as the deer population is not controlled.
“We’re facing a real crisis of health and safety as a result of this deer overpopulation,” said Giglio. “Through the Deer Management Pilot Program, we hope to set an example for how other municipalities throughout New York state can herd their deer populations and keep both these animals and residents safe. I’m grateful to all my state and local partners for committing to this collaboration, and I eagerly await seeing the benefits the community will receive from this policy.”
“The overpopulation of white-tailed deer on Eastern Long Island threatens public health, public safety, personal property, the agricultural economy and the environment. New policies to reduce and control the deer population are needed to supplement steps that have already been taken to foster hunting opportunities,” Assemblyman Thiele said. “The legislation establishing this Deer Management Pilot Program for the Town of Southold will provide new tools to address this issue by promoting collaboration between local authorities and the Department of Environmental Conservation, consistent with the State Deer Management Plan, while still ensuring public safety.
Southold is at the center of deer control issues on the East End and is the right place for a pilot program to identify potential solutions for the rest of Long Island and New York. I look forward to working with Assemblywoman Giglio and the Town to find these solutions.”
"Deer overpopulation is a major concern in the 1st Senate District and throughout Long Island. Deer are responsible for millions of dollars in crop loss each year, cause traffic accidents and car damage and help spread debilitating tickborne illnesses like Lyme Disease," said New York State Senator Anthony Palumbo. "Our legislation to create a deer management pilot program in Southold can be a first step in addressing this serious issue on the east end and act as a guide for funding and initiatives to support our farmers and help control the region's deer population."
“I want to thank Assemblywoman Giglio for sponsoring this legislation, and Assemblyman Thiele for supporting it, as well as Sen. Palumbo for introducing a companion bill in the New York state Senate,” said Legislator Al Krupksi, whose district includes Southold Town. “If enacted, this would represent a major step forward in managing the deer population in Southold at sustainable levels, and I believe it would positively affect our environment by protecting woodlands from over browsing, decrease the number of tick-borne illnesses, reduce the number of car accidents involving deer and protect crops and private property.
Southold has a long history of working with the NYS DEC on deer management issues, and this pilot program, based on the DEC’s own recommendations, could serve as a template for Suffolk County and the entire state.”
“We have a world-class deer management program in Southold Town but it’s just not enough to get the herd under control,” said Southold Town Board Member Greg Doroski. “This is a public health, public safety, environmental and economic crisis. The strategies outlined by the state experts at the DEC will give us the necessary tools we need to get the herd to a safe and sustainable level.”
“I want to thank our state and county elected officials and all of our partners for working so hard to create a pilot deer management program,” said Southold Town Supervisor Scott A. Russell. “The east end had unique challenges that require unique solutions. This pilot project, I believe, will be successful and will serve as a template for other programs.”