- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Ann Arbor could end up spending over $258,000 on deer management efforts next year.

The city’s staff presented updated budget calculations to the City Council on Monday, showing $258,545 in expected costs if Ann Arbor carries out a combination lethal/nonlethal program.

White Buffalo Inc. founder and president Anthony DeNicola presented to the City Council, a requested proposal, which consisted of a combination of darting and sterilization that would help achieve the population reduction in neighborhoods where sharpshooting isn’t allowed. It would include shooting up to 100 deer and surgically sterilizing up to 60 deer as well as doing more vegetation impact studies and other data collection. According to DeNicola, the proposal could be a 10 to 20 percent annual decline through natural attrition.

The city’s chief financial official Tom Crawford said the number of deer-involved vehicle crashes increased, while chronic wasting disease is getting closer to Ann Abor, which could lead to deer negatively impacting areas. Crawford believes the proposal by DeNicola and his organization is a practical plan that would help build the community.

Some residents who oppose the idea and see deer in a more positive light are advocating for a change in the deer management program to include nonlethal methods.

The city intends to continue collecting data related to deer. Last fall the city hired Jacqueline Courteau, a local ecologist and biologist, to study the impacts of the deer in Ann Arbor’s natural areas by monitoring hundreds of newly planted red oak seedlings. Thus far she has found that 54 percent of the unfenced seedlings were browsed by deer at least once.

The City Council is expected to make a decision on the lethal/nonlethal program next month.

Meanwhile the city intends to add signs warning motorists of deer along roadways where appropriate to avoid further vehicle crashes.

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Information from: The Ann Arbor News, http://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor

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