Sifton Bog White-tailed Deer Issue
Steering Committee Meeting Notes
Tuesday, July 10, 2001, Riverside United Church
Committee member attendance:
UTRCA, City of London and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Representatives:
Welcome & Introductions
The members of the committee introduced themselves. Teresa explained that the meeting would beinformal and that the purpose of this meeting was to discuss, if only briefly, all the items outlined on theagenda:
± role of Committee and members¸ comments received before, at and since the Public Meeting¸ additional members¸ priorities¸ work plan¸ future meeting dates and locations
Role of the Steering Committee and of Individual Members
The committee members agreed that the role of the committee is to provide the agencies (City ofLondon, Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) with arecommendation regarding the management of White-tailed deer in Sifton Bog. The members agreedthat they would work to reach consensus on issues and that they were committed to a collaborativeeffort. The members also noted that the conclusions reached by this committee may influence how
problems of a similar nature would be handled at other natural areas within the City of London.
In addition, the members discussed the role of individual committee members. Members should fulfillthe role of liaison between the committee and their affiliation. Community members will work tocommunicate the work of the committee within their communities. City, UTRCA and OMNR staff willcommunicate the progress of the committee to their councillors, board members, ministryrepresentatives and fellow staff.
Committee members will communicate with their stakeholders about the role of the committeeregarding technical information gathered to date and on the progress of the committee. Committeemembers will also communicate information to the committee from their stakeholders.
The committee members agreed that the City of London and the UTRCA would support anycommittee communication efforts such as the development of communication products, mailings,meeting arrangements, etc.
In terms of internal communication the committee agreed that the minutes of each meeting would bedistributed by mail to the members for their review and comment. Members would then haveapproximately one week to contact Teresa if the minutes needed any changes. After comments werereceived and any necessary changes made, the minutes would be posted on the UTRCA website atwww.thamesriver.on.ca under Natural Areas, Sifton Bog, for anyone to read. This would allow anyinterested member of the community to follow the progress of the committee and would also allowcommittee members who were unable to attend any specific meeting to remain informed.
Committee members discussed the recommendation process itself. Should the committee produce a
recommendation, who would this recommendation be directed to? Would it be directed to the City of
London or to the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority? It was agreed that this question should
be answered for the next meeting of the committee.Action: Clarify the recommendation process and report at the next committee meeting.
Comments received before, at and since the Public Meeting
The committee members identified the following issues as those that had been raised before, at, andsince the public meeting:
¸ Vehicle accidents caused by collisions with deer¸ Lyme disease/wildlife diseases¸ Damage to the vegetation within the Sifton Bog¸ Property damage¸ Health of the herd¸ Population - how many deer? Are they resident or moving in and out of the Bog? Is there a corridorfor movement of the deer? Etc.
¸ Are White-tailed deer a problem in other areas of the City?¸ What are the current and/or pending laws, bylaws etc. that affect deer or deer management?¸ Deer behaviour
The committee members noted that perhaps the addition of a person from the City of London’s traffic
department could help the committee learn more about vehicle-deer collisions.Action: Contact the City of London’s traffic department to see if anyone would be available to
attend a committee meeting.
The committee members decided that, since Ms. Elaine Reddick from the Middlesex -London HealthUnit had been able to attend this meeting, Lyme disease would become the first topic of discussion. Ms. Reddick presented very valuable information to the committee and provided a summary for theminutes in the form of questions and answers.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON DEER IN SIFTON BOG AND HUMAN HEALTH
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi
that is transmitted by the bite
of a tick called Ixodes scapularis
, also known as the Black-legged or Deer Tick. If infection occurs,
80% of people will have a red, slowly expanding “bull’s-eye” rash (erythema migrans) appear around
or near the site of the bite three to 31 days after the bite. If left untreated, complications involving the
joints, heart and nervous system can develop.
Is Lyme disease a concern in the Sifton Bog?
Ticks carrying Lyme disease are rare in Ontario except in Long Point, Point Pelee and Rondeau Parks.
There have been only 12 people with Lyme disease reported in the Middlesex-London area since 1988
and all but one were demonstrated to have been infected outside of this area. Between November
1988 and December 1998, 274 cases of Lyme disease were reported in Ontario; 46% of those were
felt to have been acquired in Ontario.
Do deer carry Lyme disease?
The bacteria that causes Lyme disease are found in certain ticks. These ticks need to feed on mammals
to complete their life cycle, resulting in the spread of the bacteria. Deer and rodents are the mammals
most likely to be fed on by these ticks. The spread of Lyme disease requires not only a mammal host
such as deer and rodents but also the ticks and the presence of the bacteria.
Will an increase in the number of deer in an area increase the risk of Lyme disease being
found in this area?
The Lyme disease bacteria and the ticks that transmit them would have to be in the area as well as amammal host such as deer for Lyme disease to become a problem in and around the bog. Deer arejust one part of the equation. In Middlesex-London, Lyme disease is not currently a concern.
If it is not a concern in the Sifton bog, when should I be concerned?
Anyone who travels to areas on the north shore of Lake Erie such as Long Point, Rondeau Park, Point
Pelee needs to be aware of ticks if they are in wooded or grassy areas. In addition, many areas in the
northeastern and mid-Atlantic States are endemic for Lyme disease.
How can I protect myself if I travel to the affected areas?
Avoid entering areas that are likely to be infested with ticks, particularly in spring and summer.
Wear light coloured clothing, which makes it easier to see ticks.
Wear long pants and a long sleeved shirt.
Wear closed footwear and socks. Tuck your pants into your socks.
Use an insect repellent that contains DEET on exposed skin.
A product called permethrin can be sprayed onto clothing to deter tick attachment.
Search your body and the bodies of children and pets daily for ticks. Ticks attach to the skinand feed for days. Disease can be transmitted from infected ticks if the tick is not removedwithin 24 to 48 hours.
There is a vaccine available for those who reside, work or recreate for frequent or prolonged periodsof time in areas where Lyme disease is a concern.
What should I do if I find a tick?
If a tick is removed within 24 hours of becoming attached, the risk of infection is substantially reduced.
Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull it straight out with a slight twisting motion,gently but firmly. Use tweezers if possible. If tweezers are not available, use fingers shieldedwith rubber gloves or facial tissue. Wash hands after removing the tick, and cleanse the areawith an antiseptic.
Don't squeeze the tick. Squeezing can speed up infection.
Don’t try to burn the tick off or put anything on it.
Save the tick in a clean, covered jar if you can. Contact your local health department toarrange to have the tick identified.
, there are other diseases that can be transmitted by an insect bite. People traveling, hiking,
camping or working in areas where biting insects are active should always take steps to protect
themselves from being bitten. For more information please see the Middlesex-London Health Unit's
website at www.healthunit.com and look under West Nile Virus information.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON LYME DISEASE SUCH AS SYMPTOMS,
TREATMENT, PREVENTION AND WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A TICK ON YOUR
BODY, PLEASE GO TO THE MIDDLESEX-LONDON HEALTH UNIT WEBSITE AT
www.healthunit.com OR CALL 663-5317 EXT 2330.
Do the feces of the deer in the neighbourhood pose a health concern to me or my family?
The feces of any animal can pose a health hazard if ingested. All animal feces should, therefore, be
removed from any areas where small children play. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after
disposing of any animal's feces. Always wash children's hands before eating.
Committee members felt that this information was extremely useful and should be passed along to
people within the Sifton Bog community. They felt strongly that the information should be written and
presented in such a way so as to not falsely alarm people.Action: The UTRCA staff will work with the Lyme disease information provided by the
Middlesex-London Health Unit to produce a draft of an information/fact sheet for the residents
in the Sifton Bog community. This draft will be reviewed at the next committee meeting.
The committee members discussed questions related to defining the size of the herd. Committeemembers raised questions regarding:C
how best to calculate the population of deer in the Bog
the carrying capacity of the Bog (wildlife carrying capacity and human or cultural carryingcapacity)
whether the deer population is resident or are the deer moving in and out of the Bog
last year’s winter and its effect on the deer population/behaviour
where and/or how the deer are accessing the Bog
Action: The UTRCA staff will work to collect current research regarding calculating population
densities and present findings at the next meeting.
The committee members agreed that the committee should work through each of the prioritiesidentified. This would allow members to gain an understanding of the complex nature of each issue. The next meeting agenda will cover each of the action items identified (recommendation process,committee member from traffic staff, Lyme disease fact sheet, population calculation methodology) and,if possible, move into the discussion of vegetation and property damage.
Future Meeting Dates and Locations
The committee decided that future meetings will follow a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday alternating
schedule. The location would also alternate depending on availability of facilities. The next meeting
date was set for Wednesday, August 8 at 7 p.m.
The location is to be confirmed.
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