Mayor lends expertise to provincial deer advisory group

New Provincial Urban Deer Advisory Committee to review funding requests and help communities address urban deer

The second round of funding help to deal with deer could start taking applications as early as this month.

“We anticipate at this point that applications for funding will be open starting next month and communities will have approximately one month to make the application which will be decided upon later in the year,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen, a member of the new Provincial Urban Deer Advisory Committee.

The committee convened in mid-August and includes three representatives of local government – including Jensen – as well as the ministries that oversee transportation, lands and forest, BC SPCA, UBCM and ICBC.

“I’m glad for the diversity,” Jensen said. “We’ve been working on terms of reference for the committee and how we may be of assistance to the provincial government and local government on deer management.”

The multi-stakeholder committee is tasked with providing support to local governments that are managing and addressing urban deer issues in the province. It will provide advice and share information on the resourcing, processes, roles and responsibilities, communication and educational materials and processes that relate to urban deer management.

“In one way they’re going to be a clearing house of information and support for local governments. Many local governments in British Columbia are struggling with deer. Many are small and don’t have the expertise to create solutions so they’re looking to the provincial government and PUDAC in that regard,” Jensen said.  “I think that’s a benefit to small communities such as Oak Bay.”

The committee comes as part of the response to a UBCM provincial deer management workshop recommendation last year. The province committed to creating an advisory committee and up to $100,000 for urban deer management projects. Indications are there will be another round of funding this year, Jensen said.

“PUDAC is also responsible for advising the provincial government on funding criteria for deer management programs and deciding how the applications for that funding should be prioritized,” Jensen said. “There’s room, I think, for PUDAC to advocate for more funding if the need is there.”

The committee met again Sept. 7 and is working on its terms of reference.

“There’s a lot of work to be done and I think that work really benefits from a diversity of views which are around the table,” Jensen said. “I look forward to positive results in the next six to 12 months.”

How can you reduce urban deer?

Do not feed deer. They have ample food supply in the wild and supplementing this attracts and holds deer in the area as well as triggers an unsustainable population increase.

Properly fence your fruit trees and gardens.

Keep shrubs and other plants trimmed. Deer require cover to safely travel through communities and bed down.

Use motion-activated lights and sprinklers to startle deer and dissuade them from coming into your yard.

Chase deer away from your property. They are seeking a safe haven and avoid places that have proven to be stressful in the past.

Avoid having fruit trees in your yard. If you do have fruit trees, trim lower branches to discourage deer from feeding and remove all windfalls from your yard promptly.

In winter, cover shrubs and trees with burlap or plastic sheeting. This creates a barrier that prevents deer from browsing.

Plant less palatable species: deer have an aversion to blue spruce, juniper or paper birch bushes and certain perennials like mint and columbine. Consult your local nursery to discuss regional options.

– Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

 

 

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