Southold officials are considering a proposal that would protect plants at town preserves and help control the deer population.
The proposal calls for creating three 1-plus acre deer exclosures around Southold's town preserves to keep deer away and protect some of the native plants there that are often eaten by deer. The plan was introduced by Southold public works officials at the town board’s Tuesday meeting.
Jeff Standish, the town’s public works director, said the exclosures would help bring back some of the ecosystems at town preserves.
“We can try to see if we can get some semblance of generation of growth back into the preserves, for some of the younger saplings to be able to make it through the year,” he said.
Craig Jobes, a part-time environmental analyst with the public works department, said once the plants reach a certain height and maturity, town workers may move some of the exclosures to other areas in the preserve to keep deer away.
Costs for all three deer exclosures are estimated at $3,300, Jobes said, and likely to be funded through community preservation funds.
Town officials were receptive to the idea. Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said by denying deer access to food, it could potentially help reduce their overall population numbers.
Councilman Bob Ghosio part of the town's Deer Management Task Force, said the program was a “valiant effort” to address the issue.
Local officials have tried to tackle the explosion of the deer population in Southold in recent years.
In September, the town held a public forum to focus on reducing the deer population and the environmental impacts of deer overpopulation.
Russell last year also had suggested the town look into whether local property owners who owned sizable 5-to-10-acre land parcels would be open to allowing deer hunting on those properties.