Deer not a problem in Mt. Lebanon
In the Oct. 16 Almanac, an article was posted on Mt. Lebanon’s latest efforts to deal with a supposedly problem deer population. The truth is that we had two all out slaughters of the deer in Mt. Lebanon to no avail. We spent over $100,000 of the taxpayer’s money to appease some of the gardeners. Recently the commissioners had a fly over count of the deer that were in Mt. Lebanon, parts of Upper St. Clair, Castle Shannon, Dormont, Pittsburgh, Greentree and Scott Township on that particular day.
Now Mt. Lebanon has contacted White Buffalo, which is Tony DeNicola’s operation for deer control. Mr. DeNicola is known as a deer contract chaser throughout the east. Mr. DeNicola has apparently taken data directly from Mt. Lebanon’s commission to come up with the presence of 400 to 500 deer. Those numbers are significantly higher than the numbers presented by the USDA Wildlife Services Unit that did direct counts in the township. One of our commissioner’s did the math after the fly over count, and including the deer from all the surrounding areas plus Mt. Lebanon, came up with a deer concentration of 57 per square mile, which she rounded up to 60. Mr. DeNicola has taken the total count from Mt. Lebanon and surrounding areas to raise the figure in Mt. Lebanon to between 70 and 80 per square mile. The reality is that no one knows how many deer there are in Mt. Lebanon from one hour to the next because they wander in and out of the township all day long. The numbers are really irrelevant. They are being used to construct a false picture and present it as a problem.
Mr. DeNicola suggests that the deer present the hazard of Lyme disease as a public health issue as well as motor vehicle collisions as reasons to wipe out the deer. A recent feature section of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette clearly showed the life cycle of the black legged tick which carries Lyme Disease. The Eastern White Tailed Deer was depicted standing next to a man. This indicated that the deer and man are terminal hosts for the tick. Thus we are both blood meals and nothing more for the tick and neither of us are carriers for Lyme Disease. Mr. DeNicola should know this.
The motor vehicle collisions with deer occur between 40 to 60 per year in Mt. Lebanon. We have an excess of 40 million motor vehicles on our roads each year. The number of deer hit is a statistical non-event and indeed I have seen exactly one dead deer at the side of the road in almost 50 years as a resident of this community. We are not under threat and we can spend our tax dollars much better on other significant projects.
Mr. D’Amico was probably correct in the “facts” that he chose to contest regarding natural gas use and recovery. The presentation by the League of Women Voters lacked the prestige of a polished contender. It was indeed one-sided. The Marcellus Shale finding is an opportunity to live on this planet perhaps another century even if we ignore our history here. But, some of us can remember the gift of coal to this region and the fact that it was mined profitably for a century before we learned to provide safety retreats for trapped miners which first saved lives ... in Chile. Mr. D’Amico apparently is satisfied to meet the legal requirements for obtaining a profit and the LWV is not. If you read a second newspaper in Pittsburgh this week, you may find that shale mining adds an interesting collection of chemicals to the rivers and environment in the waste water discharged to and from public water treatment facilities. Nevertheless, I agree that the gas from shale was given to us to live on earth.
The advertising (facts) that really irks me is the “Multiple Barrier”. Yes, two—steel pipe with concrete around it—are multiple.
But in the nuclear business we were always suspicious of concrete because it has cracks. Mr. D’Amico is entitled to a profit on the sale of shale gas, but not a profit earned the way that the PA Coal Barons “earned” theirs.