Home News Southold Town Government Plans for town’s new wildlife manager take shape

Plans for town’s new wildlife manager take shape

File photo: Peter Blasl

The town board has set out to educate the public about a new wildlife manager — and to define the duties associated with the post.

At last week’s town board meeting, Councilman Bob Ghosio and John Severini of the North Fork Deer Management Alliance were onhand to discuss the issues.

Severini showed the board a brochure that the Alliance plans to send out to every resident of Southold Town, outlining the escalating deer crisis.

Although the finances are not yet in place yet to distribute the brochure, the content is almost complete, he said.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into trying to address some of the issues we’ve had with deer,” he said, adding that deer present very real health and safety concerns.

Ghosio said the aim was to move the discussion along regarding the duties of the part-time wildlife management position approved in the 2016 budget.

Jeff Standish, director of public works, said despite a lot of research, there was no description of the position that had already been defined by civil service.

That means the Alliance and the town board will garner input and create a finalized version of the duties statement, then submit the document to civil service for approval.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said in his 2016, he’d budgeted for “something a little bit broader” than just a focus on deer. He’d like to see the town’s population of turkey, Canadian geese, and even feral cats addressed.

As for the feral cats, he said, “I wouldn’t suggest a hunting program, but we’ll work with partners such as the North Fork Animal Welfare League” to spotlight the problems. “Not everything will be a one-size-fits-all solution,” he said.

The intent is to make the new hire accountable for results, setting goals and marking progress.

Ghosio said the hope is to have the new hire in place by spring.

“We don’t have a natural resources department. This might be a good stepping stone. We want to manage and maintain the resources we have and address environmental, public health and safety issues at the same time,” he said. “We just want to keep the ball rolling on this.”