Fairview discuss deer control dilemma
By Doug Lowe
FAIRVIEW—Thanks to hearing from an animal biologist, with the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), the town’s newly reconstituted elected leaders may have put themselves on the horns of a dilemma with the issue what to do about the deer that some citizens love, but others want gone—dead or alive.
Wes Alexander, from DWR’s Springville office, laid out the series of steps that a city government must follow before being permitted to destroy or relocate deer found within the city limits. Those steps, laid out at the regularly city council meeting held last Thursday, Jan. 16, began with passing a no feeding ordinance to discourage citizens from attracting more deer, elk, or moose.
That first step made enough sense that the council voted unanimously to draft and eventually put in place such an ordinance, regardless of whether any of the further steps might be eventually taken. Mayor Dave Taylor showed the council a copy of Manti’s permit for its deer control program.
Manti’s deer control initiative, approved by DWR last year, allows the city to euthanize, each year, up to 100 “nuisance deer,” trapped within the city limits—including up to 25 with antlers. This “trap and cull” approach will use live traps, baited with apples or similar attractions, to catch the animals before killing them humanely. And, in the case of Manti, only lethal options are permitted.
Alexander mentioned that some cities up north have successfully employed archers as their lethal option.
Other steps spelled out by Alexander included conducting a study to more accurately measure the deer population troubling city residents. Obtaining and maintaining proper liability insurance was another of the required steps. Also, a plan to use the meat for a worthwhile purpose, such as donation to a food pantry, must be approved by DWR.
After thanking Alexander for his input, and agreeing to begin working on the necessary no feeding ordinance, council moved on to hear a progress report from Water Superintendent Justin Jackson.
Jackson explained, for the benefit of the council’s new members, that a few years back the city ran afoul of EPA regulations “due to releasing too much phosphate into the Sanpitch River when we put our processed and reclaimed sewer water there.” Under an agreement with EPA and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) a plan to pipe and re-use such water for keeping the city cemetery, baseball field, and recreational park green.
Mayor Taylor added, “Our plan calls for a 10 inch pipe running from the sewer processing plant to the cemetery with an 8 inch T going off to the baseball field and the sports park.” That plan conditionally approved by DEQ and the EPA, also called for funding to be sought in 2020; obtained by 2021 with excavation and pipe laying also beginning that year; with the entire project completed and operational by 2003.
“But, there is now a new problem I hope we can work out,” said Jackson, who said the official variance document received by the city specifies the year 2002 for the project’s completion rather than the 2003 date originally agreed upon.
The council also planned city activities on and around the 24th of July holiday.
The following schedule was tentatively agreed upon: Welcoming Social – Friday July 17; rodeo – Saturday July 18; DUP night – Sunday July 19; kids’ rodeo – Wednesday July 22; ATV event – Thursday July 23; and, the demolition derby – Friday July 24.