Blog Archives

PRESENTATIONS FROM SUBURBAN DEER MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP POSTED

The following is a repost from my Patriot LWM Blog:

The University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Office has posted all the presentations and information from last months “Suburban Deer Management: Options and Choices for Decision-Makers” of which Patriot Land & Wildlife President Joe Brown was a guest speaker. The Forestry Resources Website has all the information you could need when it comes to making an educated decision regarding your suburban deer management issues.

CLICK HERE FOR PRESENTATIONS

Hope Floats – Man-made islands create ecosystems to heal polluted rivers

Here is a repost from our blog over at Patriot LWM:

A few years ago, Patriot Land and Wildlife was fortunate to be involved with an innovative water quailty improvement project in Washington, DC on the Anacostia River. Teamed with Bluewing Environmental Solutions and Technologies, Patriot LWM helped install several BioHaven Floating Treatment Wetlands at Diamond Teague Park in DC, with the intention of providing much-needed water quality improvement. These BioHaven islands are capable of removing as many nutrients from the waterbody as 6 acres of natural wetlands.

Diamond Teague is just across the street from the Washington Nationals baseball stadium and is a popular riverside destination for ballpark patrons, among others. The dual functionaility of water quality stewardship and ornamental landscaping allowed for a great project to occur, and lots of attention drawn to the problems suffered by our waterways.  Author Mike Cronin of “The Daily” spotlights the project.

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It turns out that recycled plastic may do more for the environment than just save it from unnecessary garbage. Man-made floating islands constructed from the stuff are helping to revive urban rivers devastated by centuries of industrial pollution.The Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., for example, has been slowly coming back to life, roughly two years after the Maryland-based company Blue Wing Environmental Solutions and Technology anchored seven man-made islands there in an area near Nationals Park, where the Washington Nationals play. Those islands are the brainchild of Bruce and Anne Kania, the married couple who run Floating Islands International in Shepherd, Mont.“We are providing an affordable, doable, non-chemical solution, and people are going, ‘Aha!’ ” said Anne, Floating Islands’ CEO.Bruce realized years ago that wetlands work naturally to clean up pollutants, so the Kanias started mimicking floating ecosystems with recycled fiber from plastic bottles.
Just days after the floating islands are placed in the water, a film of bacteria and other microbes forms on the mesh filters and other plastic parts of the fake landmasses, said Bruce, adding that the microbes eat nutrients and form biofilm in the process. Biofilm is the base of periphyton, which is in turn the base of the freshwater food chain. Everything from zooplankton to nymphs and minnows thrive off it.“They clean up the water and take nutrients that otherwise would have turned into algae and turn them into fish food,” said Bruce, who got the idea for the floating islands after observing the natural, peat-based floating islands of northern Wisconsin.“Three years ago, we could see only 14 inches into our 6.5-acre research pond,” he said. “Now, we can see 11 feet into it.”

The Kanias founded their company in 2005. Today they have seven manufacturers worldwide and 4,000 islands in use around the globe. Customers pay roughly $27 per square foot and may order any shape or size of floating island, which can be used in rivers, ponds, lakes and even the ocean.
Kevin Hedge, a wetland scientist and partner at Blue Wing, sees the synthetic islands as more than just a savior to an ailing environment.

“The floating islands are an ecological-restoration tool that also can be an economic-recovery tool,” he said.

Lanshing Hwang, the Maryland landscape architect who designed the island park in Washington, called it “an innovative approach — particularly for places that don’t have wetlands.

By Mike Cronin Saturday – May 21, 2011

Eye Opening Deer Study from Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute

This is a cross post I wrote from our PatriotLWM Blog:

It has long been known that an overpopulation of deer has negative effects on your vehicle when they wander into the roadway infront of you, or your flowers when the deer make their way to your yard, but a study from the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute is pinning a new victim on this overpopulation, our forests. Biologists looked at the effects of deer overpopulation on forest regeneration and how that relates to the growth of invasive species of plants. What they found is sure to be a wake up call for the ecological community who must now look at wildlife management as another tool to protect and ensure the health of their natural community.

Story from WAMU.org:

A world with deer (left) versus a world without them (right). The difference is stark and extends from the ground to the canopy — birds, mice, and chipmunks are more abundant without deer. Courtesy of: Xiaoli Shen

DEER OVERPOPULATION YIELDS DISASTROUS RESULTS FOR FORESTS

SABRI BEN-ACHOUR

WAMU Radio Report

May 23, 2011 – As an ever-rising population of white-tailed deer have bumped up against their human neighbors in the D.C. area, the results haven’t been pretty. There were an estimated 88,000 deer-vehicle collisions in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and Delaware last year.

Dozens of species, some relatively rare, flourish without deer to munch on them. Importantly, young trees are able to survive too. When old trees die, there are plenty of saplings waiting in the wings to take their place — not so in a forest of overpopulated deer. Courtesy of: Xiaoli Shen

But beyond the roads, experts say the deer are also having a major impact on forests, which are unable to replenish themselves to nurture the next generation due to the deer population’s eating habits.

To illustrate this decline in forests during the past several years, a group of scientists blocked off a chunk of woods to the deer more than two decades ago.

A SLICE OF UNTOUCHED, AND UNEATEN, WOODS

It’s called an exclosure, and it’s a place where no deer have trod for decades. Back in 1990, scientists at the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., closed off 10 acres of forest with 8-foot high fences to see how the land would evolve without its furry friends.

“So we’re comparing inside the fence to the outside the fence,” says Bill McShea, a wildlife ecologist at SCBI. “And there’s two things of note. One is, it’s green on both sides of the fence but in here it’s a lot more diverse than out there.”

That is an understatement. The deer side of the fence has a carpet of grass, a shrubby looking thing and some large trees — things that are either too big for deer to eat or among the very few plants they don’t like to eat.

Inside is practically a jungle, with dozens of different almost exotic looking plants are tumbling over one another, many of them young trees.

“In here I can see white ash and hickory and red maples and white maples and serviceberry,” McShea says. “A whole bunch of under story and canopy trees that are all now three or four feet tall. We are looking at 20, 30 species. There’s a lot of diversity in here. You look out there, and it’s a much simpler world.”

DEER-EATEN FORESTS RISK DYING

That simpler world is an aging world. Really, it’s a dying world as far as forests go.

“The future is not good. There are no teenagers, there’s no young adults,” McShea says of the trees and other foliage. “Everybody’s a mature individual. Whereas, inside this fence you have the complete profile of ages. You have youngsters, you have teenagers, you have middle-aged adults, you have the old trees.

“And when the old trees go — and they’re going to go, because that’s what happens with old trees, they fall over — there is something here to take its place,” McShea says. “Out there, I don’t see anything out there that’s a small tree.”

These results of the exclosure, although striking, are what scientists could have predicted. One of the surprising things they found, however, is that deer allow invasive species to flourish.

“The Japanese stilt grass is just coming up now as a highly invasive annual grass,” says Norm Bourg, a plant ecologist with SCBI.

The Japanese-origin grass carpets the floor outside the exclosure, but inside, there are many more native species present.

“There’s a lot of native species like horse balm,” Bourg says, gesturing to the plants beneath his feet. “This is black cohosh, which is a native medicinal plant that you hardly ever see out there.”

With fewer native plants outside the exclosure, there are fewer birds there that depend on them for nests and food, and there are also fewer mice and chipmunks when they have to compete with deer.

DEER POPULATION IS RESULT OF RE-POPULATION

But it wasn’t always this way. One hundred years ago, deer were nearly extinct in Maryland and extremely rare in Virginia.

“By that time, you couldn’t find a deer or a turkey or a bear in the state,” McShea says. “Both the habitat changes and the restaurant trade eliminated most of those animals.”

Today’s ubiquitous food trend of “buying local” was the norm back then, and hunting was an industry, says McShea.

“They weren’t going to put a cow on a train in Texas and ship it to Virginia,” McShea says. “If you were going to go to a restaurant, order yourself a steak, for the most part that was a venison steak.”

In the early part of the 1900’s, newly minted state game departments rushed to the rescue, banning or regulating hunting and setting up parks.

“When they made the Shenandoah Park in the 1930s, they went and got deer from Arkansas and brought them back here to repopulate that area,” says McShea. “So growing the deer population was intentional. It’s a conservation story and it went just like they planned.”

A CONSERVATION EFFORT’S UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

The result is that today, there are several million deer, and, as McShea puts it, “the flip side has happened.

“They’re hitting too many cars, there’s too much gardens being eaten, the forest succession is changing,” he continues. “We’ve got to dial that back a little bit.

Deer aren’t evil, McShea is quick to emphasize, but they have no predators now and they need to be managed. States currently rely primarily on scheduled hunts, where the public is allowed to come in and take out deer.

That works well on parkland to some extent, but it doesn’t work on private property or in federal parks, which have been slower to adopt aggressive management.

“We have time for that, we don’t have to make a decision this year,” he says. But we don’t have decades, he adds. Trees don’t live forever.

Usually, species compete for light. But where there are too many deer, they compete on the basis of deer resistance. Few species are unpalatable to deer, so few species prevail and they tend to be invasive. Courtesy of: Xiaoli Shen

NEW FACELIFT FOR PATRIOTLWM.COM

It’s been a long but fun struggle to get all our entities looking sharp and like a family, so here is the next step.

From the Patriot LWM Blog:

The full transformation of the Patriot Land and Wildlife Management Services, Inc. social media to a fresh new look is nearly complete. Check out the all new look for www.PatriotLWM.com!

New Company Logo and Brochure for Patriot LWM

Here is an article about the new face of Patriot LWM!

From the Patriot LWM Blog:

In an effort to better inform our clients and customers of the many services Patriot Land and Wildlife provides, we have created a new logo and informative material. Please check out our new brochure below and let us know what you think. Get the PDF version of the brochure HERE Patriot BROCHURE Online.

Migration is for the “birds”…Resident Geese present new challenges for managers

Article I put together featuring some custom cell phone camera footage from my brief time at Montgomery College.

From the Patriot LWM Blog:

 
The Canada Goose has long been a recognizable member of the waterfowl flotilla bobbing up and down on Maryland’s many lakes, rivers and ponds. From early childhood we are taught about the winter migration of waterfowl “flying South for the winter” and back North to lay and hatch their young.
As the years past and the occasional nesting pair became nesting flocks, one couldn’t help but wonder if the popular saying failed to make its way to the geese. Year round populations of geese have become a common occurrence in Maryland, going from neat to nuisance for many citizens.
 
The Resident Goose:
 
This new emergence of non-migrating geese have created a new term in the wildlife management community, the now infamous “Resident Goose”. These resident geese do just that, reside year round on area water bodies, lawns, golf courses and crop fields. If unharrased, they often roost in the same place night after night and utilize food sources in the immediate area day after day. With a mature goose defecating nearly a pound a day, the damage begins to mount in those areas. Problems including high nitrogen levels in water bodies, damage to crops, landscapes and ball fields from overgrazing, as well as the health hazards attributed to human interaction with their waste.
These geese begin nesting in late February and March with eggs hatching sometime in late April. Average clutch sizes range from 3-6 eggs with females reproducing after 2-3 years of age and sometimes getting very aggressive in defense of their nests during this time period. Sometime in late June to mid July these geese go through a 4-6 week molting period in which they lose their flight feathers and are stuck to the ground with the rest of us. This process goes on year after year with potential ages of resident geese reaching sometimes over 20 years.
These older resident geese have become very wise to the tricks of the hunting community, taking up residence often in uphuntable areas within the urban fringe. Golf course ponds, homeowners association stormwater management areas, local government water features and even tops of buildings often become preferred habitat; see attached video below.

Business Gazette Article Features Patriot LWM

From the Patriot LWM Blog:

In a welcome ”coincidence”, the same day we celebrated the memory of an American Hero, an article with his name in it was published. We waited a day to put this story up to allow Kirk’s memory to be properly honored. Now, here is the article from the Business Gazette featuring Patriot Land and Wildlife. Hope you enjoy it.

CLICK HERE FOR STORY ON GAZETTE.NET

THE REASON BEHIND THE NAME: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO AN AMERICAN HERO, CPL. KIRK J. BOSSELMANN

This is an article I put together as a labor of love in honor of the birthday of my best friend and hero, Cpl. Kirk Bosselmann. From the Patriot LWM Blog:

Over the years, many have asked as to the origin of the name for “Patriot” Land and Wildlife Management Services, Inc. Most just assume that we are borderline “overly patriotic” and sometimes even go as far as to suggest it is a marketing strategy, ha. Truth be told, on this day, March 25th, in the year 1983, Kirk J. Bosselmann was born into this world. A lifelong friend of Patriot president Joe Brown, Kirk spent the majority of his young life in and around the woods and waters of Maryland. Together the two developed a mutual appreciation for nature and an everlasting love of the outdoors and what it has to offer. Often, Kirk and Joe would joke about how great it would be to get paid to do what they love, be outdoors.   

When senior year at Poolesville High School came to an end, the boys had a tough decision to make. Joe was being recruited for college level football and Kirk had his eyes set west to become a firefighting “Smoke Jumper”. Joe’s path took him to Shepherd University to play football and study Environmental Resource Management as Kirk found a smoke jumping team in California.

Several weeks into each adventure, Joe received a call from California. It was Kirk, and he had decided his life needed more direction, he decided to become a Marine. Unknown to his family or friends, Joe made plans to join up with his pal in San Diego and take that leap together. Showing qualities only possessed by a true friend, Kirk convinced his friend not to leave Shepherd, saying “you try college, I’ll try the Marines, and in 4 years we can switch”. And so it was.

Kirk and Joe stayed in touch throughout the journey, with letters and emails changing hands often, and even the occasional return home for a little outdoor related R&R. Each time they met the talk usually led to the same conversation…”how cool would it be if we got paid to be outside?”

For 3 1/2 years all went according to plan, with Kirk returning safely from his first deployment in Iraq and Joe staying relatively uninjured on the football field and even somewhat successful in the class room (to both their surprises).

On November 27th, 2004 the call came. Cpl. Kirk J. Bosselmann, 1st Battalion 8th Marines, Scout Sniper Platoon, had been killed in action while bravely defending his brothers inside the Iraqi city of Fallujah. 2 weeks later Kirk received a hero’s goodbye from friends, family and a grateful nation in the perfect setting for how he lived, the base of Sugarloaf Mountain.

In his final letter to Joe, Kirk stays true to his core, imploring Joe not to weep, but carry on completing the dreams and goals they had set together. To live life to the fullest without a single ounce of regret.

And so, Patriot Land & Wildlife Management Services, Inc. was born, and they are proud to say they are getting “paid to be outside”….    

Program Continues to Take Deer from “Nuisance to Nutrient”

A neat blog entry I threw together about the way our deer management programs help feed the hungry!

From the Patriot LWM Blog:

The reproductive potential of White-tailed deer is no secret to the majority of citizens today. Often a simple drive down an area roadway will show signs of their presence in the form of an unsightly carcass or an unlucky commuters bumper laying near the shoulder. You may have even shaken your head at the sight and thought to yourself, “What a waste!”. Well you weren’t alone.

In early 2004, as populations of White-tailed deer continued to climb (along with the associated crop damage) despite historically liberal harvest limits for local hunters, area wildlife managers were left scratching their heads. Why would the overall population of deer continue to climb despite increased hunting opportunities for local hunters? What was the limiting factor in the reduction effort and how do we correct it?

With the help of a landowner survey revealing the increasing environmental, health, safety and economic problems caused by the overpopulation of white-tailed deer, the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development and other County departments asked this very same question. How do we reduce the number of deer without creating wanton waste and possibly fill another void?

In the end the answer was not so much the lack of will, but the need for a way.

The Problem:

Regardless of hunter harvest opportunities, the average household freezer holds packaged meat from up to 2 processed deer. Some hunters were able to find family and friends who could use the meat from other harvest deer, but often their freezers filled up quickly as well. The hunters desire to harvest more deer in support of a sustainable population was there, but the avenue to distribute that meat was not. Meanwhile, the freezers of local area food banks didn’t stay quite as full and the stomachs of less fortunate families faired about the same. Enter the DED, area farmers and a non-profit by the name of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.

The Solution:

The DED Agricultural Services Division along with FHFH and area farmers worked with various agencies within Montgomery County as part of this County-wide deer management effort to find a solution. The solution? A County-funded deer donation program to help connect the increased harvest from hunters with the areas shelters and food banks.

The Deer Donation Program encouraged farmers and hunters to harvest more deer in a responsible manner by providing local, minimum- hassle deer collection sites, of which there are two in Montgomery County. Hunters would drop off their harvested deer at these refrigerated trailer collection sites which would in-turn be transported to a certified meat processor. Once processed, the meat is then donated to the Capital Area Food Bank which distributes the meat to food banks and shelters across the Washington Metro area.

Results

The program is currently administered in partnership with Patriot Land and Wildlife Management Services that coordinates the collection, processing, and donation of venison to food banks in the local area. From it’s humble beginnings of 39 donated deer in the 2004-2005 season, the 2010-2011 season proved to be the best yet with 401 deer being donated. These 401 deer equate to over 16,000 pounds of meat donated to the areas less fortunate.

The Deer Donation Program has invested $140,000 over 7 years. The value of the Program is calculated to be upwards of $255,000. This is based on the value of the meat collected (49,080 lbs at $2/lb) and the value of the crops not consumed from agricultural fields (1,227 deer harvested, 2,000 lbs of grain saved for each deer harvested (2,454,000 lbs.), value of grain estimated at $3.671/bushel). This does not include the reduction in vehicular damage caused by deer vs. vehicle collisions or many of the other negative economic impacts resulting from an overpopulation of deer.

Even despite the apparent economic success of the program, the true value to those families in need is something that is hard to put a price on.

The program has spawned the creation of several other similar donation programs throughout Maryland over the past few years. Hopefully with renewed support from local officials, this program can continue to  fill a need on multiple fronts.

Read a complete summary of the 2010-2011 results here:

Check out a past newspaper article about the program here:

Chronic Wasting Disease Makes its First Appearance in Maryland

Another blog I drafted up on the Patriot LWM blog:

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has confirmed that a White-tailed Deer harvested in Maryland has tested positive in laboratory testing for Chronic Wasting Disease. A hunter in Allegany County reported taking the deer on November 27, 2010 in Green Ridge State Forest. Maryland is now one of 20 other states and Canadian provinces with CWD documented in deer, elk or moose.

Many details of the disease are unknown, but below our some links and a great video from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on CWD.

Chronic Wasting Disease Found In Maryland – MD QDMA Statement

Maryland DNR Wildlife and Heritage Office CWD Info Page

Maryland DNR 2011 CWD Response Plan

Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance Website

OE Podcast about CWD with MD-QDMA President E.W. Grimes