The Potomac Highlands Watershed School
High School Environmental Forum
Final Consensus Position: Hampshire HS
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AP Environmental Science: Final Essay
Date: 11/18/2005, Time: 01:30 PM
When it became apparent that the overpopulation of whitetail deer in Hampshire County was causing damage to the forest ecosystem, the A.P. environmental Science class at HHS began researching and writing about solutions to the problem. After several weeks of thoughtful discussion, revision, and deliberation, a group consensus was reached. The final consensus was a five-year plan based on a number of different courses of action. In the short term, it was planned to temporarily increase the overall number of deer harvested by hunters. This will produce an immediate drop in the deer population. The long-term part of the plan is the gradual reintroduction of natural deer predators such as mountain lions and wolves. This strategy was well documented as an effective way to control damaging herbivores in Yellowstone National Park. Electric fences and tracking collars are both proposed methods for protecting human beings from these predators. Additionally, it was agreed that farmers would be granted fewer restrictions on shooting deer that damage their crops. Overall, it was decided that deer population should average a 5% decrease for each year of the five-year plan. This equates to an overall decrease of the base population of about 20%. We believe that this decrease will reduce environmental damage from deer significantly. The populations of deer and predators must be monitored until they reach a natural equilibrium. The plan versatile and can be altered easily. We believe that it is the best program to reduce the deer population in Hampshire County.
Other HHS entries pending.