Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sligo Creek Park considers culling deer - Gazette

Park's booming population tramples ecosystem

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009

One day in 2007, after a morning spent at Sligo Creek Park removing invasive plants so the native plants could survive, Sally Gagne took a moment to relax and look back on the acre of parkland she had proudly worked on to save.

Her pride quickly turned to panic.

"I couldn't believe how little was left," said Gagne, a Silver Spring resident and founder of the Friends of Sligo Creek, a local citizens group dedicated to improving the quality of the Sligo Creek Watershed, which covers 11.6 square miles from Wheaton to Hyattsville. "There were very few young trees and even fewer native plants."

A new adversary – a rapidly increasing deer population in Sligo Creek – had gotten to the plot before Gagne could, eating all of the native plants and saplings. The deer problem was bad in 2007, Gagne said, and is even worse now. And for the first time, FOSC is debating whether to cull the deer population in Sligo Creek before the entire ecosystem is ruined.

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