Resolution to Approve a Contract with NatureWrite, LLC for Monitoring and Assessment of Deer Impacts in Ann Arbor Natural Areas ($33,000), Amend the FY17 Budget and Appropriate Necessary Funds ($15,750) (8 Votes Required)
Approval is requested to appropriate the necessary funds to contract with NatureWrite, LLC for monitoring and assessment of deer impacts in Ann Arbor Natural Areas. As noted in Dr. Courteau's presentation to Council at its October 24, 2016 work session, the vegetation impact study will include both oak seedlings and wildflowers.
Budget/Fiscal Impact: It is necessary to appropriate additional funding for the recommended expanded vegetation impact study. Funds are available in the City's General Fund fund balance.
When City Council decided to implement a deer management program last year, the program began with monitoring the impacts that deer were having to the vegetation in our park natural areas. In the short-term, in an effort to establish some level of baseline data on deer impacts prior to initiating a cull in winter 2016, staff contracted with a local researcher and deer expert (Dr. Jacqueline Courteau) to conduct browse damage in 10 wooded City parks beginning in November 2015. This consisted in planting sentinel red oak tree seedlings at selected locations in the field and assessing them for deer browse damage over time. This method is referenced in Cornell University's recent Deer Management Study. Due to the need for high-quality, defensible, scientifically valid data, staff chose to contract with Dr. Jacqueline Courteau, a local consulting ecologist with extensive experience in southeastern Michigan monitoring the impacts to vegetation from deer browse. She did her doctoral work at UM looking at "Direct, Indirect, and Interacting Effects of Overabundant Deer and Invasive Autumn Olive on Native Vegetation." She has previously worked as a consultant to the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA) o...Click here for full text