Following a cull of feral deer in rural and open spaces surrounding urban areas earlier this year, MidCoast Council has plans to run another 4-5 projects during the next 12 months.
"We have plans and the external budget (funding from Hunter Local Land Services) to run another 4-5 deer controls using ground-shooting and trapping at sites at south Forster, Diamond Beach and Old Bar/Wallabi over the next 12 months," liveable communities director, Paul De Szell said.
Mr De Szell was responding to a question with notice before the start of this week's November monthly ordinary meeting from Paul Sandilands.
Cr Sandilands had asked if council was planning another cull.
After speaking with residents, Cr Sandilands said there was increasing evidence of encounters with feral deer, while local panel beaters had reported an increase in vehicle damage.
"We do require something that makes a significant impact on the population," Cr Sandilands said.
This program should reduce the number of feral deer and any resulting human-deer interactions, Mr De Szell said.
"I don't believe that eradication will be possible during this timeframe, and the reinvasion will always result in more animals entering the near urban environment," he said.
"Work completed thus far is a pilot of control options which will shape recommendations for hopefully state future operations.
"Effective strategic, long-term feral deer control in the Mid-Coast will rely on a system involving a multiagency partnership, cross tenure management, a framework of collaboration from landholders, an established vision and clear program goals and objectives, sustainable resourcing and an effective adaptive monitoring and adaptive management structure."
We have plans and the external budget (funding from Hunter Local Land Services) to run another 4-5 deer controls using ground-shooting and trapping at sites at south Forster, Diamond Beach and Old Bar/Wallabi over the next 12 months.- Liveable communities director, Paul De Szell
However, at this stage there is no Hunter Local Land Services (LLS) commitment beyond the funding term, Mr De Szell said.
A deer project officer was funded by LLS until October 2024.
The pilot program will prepare a business case for management and detail the most cost effective control method and the extent of the deer population.
"The current program only focusses on the near urban areas of south Forster, Wallabi Point and Diamond Beach, and not the known hotspots, such as Coomba Park.
"Significant resources will be required to co-ordinate controls in these areas.
"An additional challenge to an ongoing plan achieving real results is a lack of private landholder participation, particularly in the south Forster area.
"While many private landholders (developers, farmers etc.) have come on board, many have expressed concerns due to legal liability.
"In conclusion it is really only a council problem on council land and in urban and near urban areas.
"To be successful ongoing multi-agency funded programs are required."
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