PORTER | The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will use both lethal and nonlethal methods to control white-tailed deer on its property.

The National Park Service last week released the park's final deer management plan outlining what methods will be used to control the deer population.

A Deer Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement reviewed four alternatives for managing the deer population and addressed various consequences of each alternative. Alternative D, a combination of the three alternatives, was chosen.

"The plan will include application of all the identified deer control measures described in the approved Alternative D. This would include doing additional monitoring of deer impacts since control actions are based on monitoring data, acquiring some fencing and repellent supplies for spot treatments or to protect specific rare plants and communicating with the Indiana office of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service about potential sharpshooting efforts," said Bruce Rowe, IDNL spokesman said.

When the plan was written, it called for more than 1,000 deer to be culled during the first three years of the 15-year plan, with additional culls in later years.

The cost to implement the plan ranges from $2.6 million to $2.8 million over its 15-year life.

Rowe said those numbers and costs are not set in stone.

"The costs were accurate at the time the plan was written. They were designed to show a comparison of relative cost for each alternative that was considered. They would have to be adjusted for the rate of inflation and other changes to costs," he said.

The specific number of deer that could be culled will depend on the results of the monitoring of deer impacts on park resources. The number could be adjust up or down depending on the results, said Rowe.

The Environmental Protection Agency published a notice in the Federal Register on April 27. The NPS Midwest regional director will sign the record no sooner than 30 days after the plan's publication.

"Until the Deer Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has been signed by the Midwest regional director, we will not implement the components of the plan. Once the plan is signed we will begin developing a detailed implementation plan," said Rowe.


Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.