Poster Update - May 19, 2009
4-Poster Program is entering its 2nd full year of a 4-year study on the
effectiveness and safety of treating white-tail deer with a tick-killing
pesticide by means of a device resembling an old 4-poster bed with applicators
resembling paint rollers. The devices have proved extremely effective in
previous studies, but New York State requires it's own study before approving
additional discussions between FINS and the Fire Island Wildlife Foundation
which has implemented the 4-Poster program in Western Fire Island, there has
been much progress made. FINS has agreed, not only to allowing the
projection to continue, but to the includsion of two
additional sites on private land. One site, previously located
at Atlantique, has been moved to a site near the Fair Harbor--Dunewood
border. A new site has been added at the western end of Fair
Harbor. Previously, there were two devices located at the Saltaire
Maintenance Yard. One of these has been moved to the a site on the
western end of Saltaire on Lighthouse Prom(Burma Road). There continue to
be 6 sights in Robert Moses State Park. The most easterly site on the
Lighthouse nature trail will be moved to the border of the federal lands
between Robert Moses and Kismet. Kismet will thus be bracketed by two
sites on its western and eastern borders.
project has been funded primarily by the Fair Harbor/Dunewood Medical District,
the Village of Saltaire and Robert Moses State Park. Kismet contributed
it's donation to the Fire Island Wildlife Foundation in 2002. Other
Foundation funds from private donors have also been used. The Foundation
is currently asking the Kismet Community Association for an additional
donation and will send soliciation letters to Kismet residents who are not
members of the KCA. (As opposed to the other contributing organizations
who are able to levy tax dollars from all community residents, Kismet depends
on voluntary dues payments).
4-Poster program, which is a 4-year study involving Cornell University
Extension, has also been implemented on Shelter Island. Unfortunately,
they have had to cut back on some of their wilderness sites because of budget
shortfalls. However, they continue to maintain sites in the areas where
there is deer/human interaction.
Island Wildlife Foundation regrets to inform you that, after allowing the
4-Poster tick control study to proceed for more than a year, FINS revoked its
authorization for the study. It
would seem inconceivable that a federal agency charged with protecting the health
of Fire Island residents and visitors would go back on its word in the middle
of an ongoing study, especially when it is well aware of the commitment of
funds and effort that has already been made, as well as the potential benefits
to public health.
As you probably know, the 4-Poster is an innovative device that may
dramatically reduce tick densities and the risk from tick-borne diseases. Developed by the USDA, it is designed
to make deer rub their heads and necks against tickicide-imbued rollers, as
they feed on corn. The tickicide
is used in miniscule amounts. Researchers
estimate that the 4-Poster uses 1/1500th the amount of pesticide
that is used with the broadcast spraying that is currently permissible on Fire
FINS had ample opportunity to have its issues resolved during
the year-long review process that involved over a dozen agencies, all of which ultimately
either approved or endorsed the study and yet FINS now justifies stopping the
study in the Fire Island communities for the following reasons:
· Interference with native animal species, even though Blacklegged and Lone Star ticks are non-native and recent arrivals on Fire Island.
· Concern over the use of 4-Poster by animals other than deer even though no non-target species have been photographed with motion-sensor cameras. In actuality, only park rangers were photographed who were darting deer with immunocontraceptive vaccine at the 4-Poster sites.
· The far-fetched concern that corn will germinate resulting in “fields of corn” growing on Fire Island.
· Concern that the corn used during the duration of the three year study will enhance the health of the deer even though FINS has repeatedly been informed by the scientific community that corn’s protein content is insufficient to sustain deer. Corn is universally used to attract deer, whether it is for culling a herd by sharpshooters or for humane, environmentally sound research projects such as deer immunocontraception and the 4-Poster project. We are confident that, at the conclusion of the study, FINS’ antithesis toward the use of corn as an attractant will be far outweighed by the public health benefits that are achieved.
· Additionally, FINS has requested, retroactively, a Scientific Research and Collecting (ticks) Permit. While it would seem unreasonable for a federal agency to require a permit for a study that it had previously allowed to proceed, the NYSDEC nevertheless recently filed this paperwork on behalf of the Fire Island communities.
While the 4-Poster study resulted from an impressive collaborative
effort made by numerous federal, state and local agencies, researchers, highly
skilled pesticide applicators, community residents and Foundation members, it
is the critical and continued support of the NYSDEC, Bureau of Pesticide
Management that has kept the Fire Island communities in the project. To stop halfway into the study would be a waste of time,
effort and funding; a loss to the scientific community of the unique data
generated from within barrier island communities with immunocontracepted deer;
and the lost opportunity to improve public safety.
4-Poster devices are being stored for the winter months. Without your help they will not be
redeployed in March and the Fire Island communities will be out of the study. The
time to act is now. It is imperative that we let FINS know that its decision is
unacceptable. The best way to do
that is by sending FINS a letter and/or email and including a copy to our
elected officials. We have
included, for your convenience a draft letter to make this as painless as
possible. Please edit or add
personal information as you see fit.
Superintendent Chris Soller
Fire Island National Seashore
120 Laurel Street
Patchogue, New York 11772
Dear Superintendent Soller,
It has come to my attention
that FINS has reversed its decision to participate in an important ongoing effort
to test groundbreaking tick mitigation technology. The 4-Poster Study began as a grassroots effort in the Fire
Island communities and now involves an admirable collaboration of numerous
academic, municipal and not-for-profit entities.
The Study promises to further
the effort to develop environmentally sound tools for public health officials
to use in controlling ticks and tick-borne diseases. For this reason alone, the irresponsibility of revoking your
previously granted authorization of this Study is inconceivable to me.
In addition, the impact of
this arbitrary and capricious decision on the integrity of FINS administration
promises to be both long standing and far reaching, as this study has been
embraced by townships, villages, community organizations and elected officials
at every level of government.
In light of this extensive
support and dire public health concerns, I call upon you to reinstate your
previous decision to permit the Study and allow it to go forth as prescribed by
the academicians who originally developed it.
Cc: Mary K. Foley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LCDR David Wong, MD (email@example.com)
Vincent A. Palmer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hon. Steve Israel (email@example.com)
Hon. Phil Boyle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HSUS Regional Director Nina Austenberg (email@example.com)
Hon. Angie M. Carpenter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hon. Thomas Barraga (email@example.com)
Hon. Peter T. King (firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon. Charles E. Schumer (www.schumer.senate.gov)
Hon. Tim Bishop (email@example.com)
Hon. Carolyn McCarthy (Jeanette.firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hon. Owen H. Johnson (email@example.com)
Hon. Kenneth P. LaValle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hon. Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (email@example.com)
Hon. Ginny A. Fields (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hon. Steve Levi (email@example.com)
Hon. Marc S. Alessi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hon. Brian X. Foley (email@example.com)
Hon. Ed Romaine (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hon. David A. Paterson
Hon. Kirsten E. Gillibrand (fax attention Ben Rosenbaum 202 228 0282)
Hon. Phil Nolan (email@example.com)