Shelter Island 4-Poster Program
The Goal: To eradicate tick-borne diseases. This is a non-partisan issue. The 4-Poster program, which is designed to meet our goal, has been supported by a Republican, a Conservative, and a Democratic supervisor. Recent petition signatures have included 1,380 for the 4-Poster program and 79 against.
The 4-Poster System: Designed by scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture, the 4-Poster system lures deer with corn to a unit where their heads, necks and ears are swathed with permethrin, which kills the ticks.
The Tick Cycle: The two ticks that carry disease are the Lone Star and the Black-legged. Each has a two-year life cycle. They carry disease throughout this cycle, and only lay eggs at the end of their life. Although mice, rabbits. raccoons, and birds are hosts to ticks, the final host is the deer. If they are killed on the deer, they cannot lay their eggs. Thus the cycle is broken. That is the theory, which has been well tested throughout the Country, of the 4-Poster. It works over a four-year period.
Permethrin: This insecticide, very effective in killing ticks, is approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. It is used extensively throughout the Country. It is in shampoos used to treat lice in children, on clothes used by hunters, and sprayed on lawns and shrubs. There are four or five pest control companies that serve residences on Shelter Island, and one reports a client list of 400 which receive monthly treatments of permethrin.
The DEC’s role: The DEC is not adverse to the use of permethrin. It is concerned, however, about the use of the 4-Poster system because it creates an environment, which encourages the congregating of deer. They are anxious to discourage that behavior out of fear of chronic wasting disease, for which there is no cure, that is sweeping across the country.
The DEC Cornell Study: Because there is no chronic wasting disease on Shelter Island or Fire Island, the DEC has agreed to allow the 4-Poster system on the islands as long as it is accompanied by a study of deer ecology and the monitoring of ticks over a four-year period. No study, no 4-Poster System. Although the DEC insists on the Study, they are not funding it.
The Cost of the System: The four-year program on Shelter Island will cost approximately $1.125 million.
The Cost of the DEC Cornell Study: The four-year Cornell Study will be $1,167 million, $998,529 for deer ecology, and $169,194 for tick monitoring.
Who will Pay for the System? The costs for the System are being paid by the Town of Shelter Island and the Deer and Tick Management Foundation, which was created as a 501(c)(3) corporation to support the Town’s effort. The costs of maintenance, corn, Tickicide (permethrin) and rollers, sighs, etc. are in the Town budget for 2008 and are intended to be in subsequent budgets. The Foundation purchased the 4-Poster units, and it paid for the first shipments of corn and Tickicide.
Who will Pay for the Study? The towns of Shelter Island and Saltaire (of which Fire Island is a part) are reaching out to other East End towns, the County, the State, and Federal sources. So far, the County has pledged, but not released $155,000 for 2008, the State has pledged $100,000 for 2008, and the people of Shelter Island, have generously donated $128,000 to the Foundation, which has paid the $128,000 to Cornell. So, if all the pledged money comes through, the $367,088 budget for 2008 will be met. However, for the following three years, $293,862 for 2009, $261.404, for 2010, and $245,369 for 2011, funds will still need to be raised. This is why the County is being asked for $155,000 for 2009 and the State will be asked for $100,000 as well. A budget for the Study years is attached.
Shelter Island Deer and Tick Management Foundation May 2008