This story has been revised since its original posting to correct and clarify the DMAC benchmarks. Also, since the posting, the DNR has reported three deer dead of EHD in Oakland County.
The Rochester Hill's City Council heard a report from the Deer Management Advisory Committee this week.
While the report included several recommendations for 2013 to decrease deer/vehicle crashes — a feeding ban, educational materials and signs — it also concluded that EHD (epizootic hemorrhagic disease) is back in the state.
The disease, spread by midge flies, causes extensive internal bleeding in deer. The disease does not affect humans. It was last seen in the area in 2009 when many dead deer were pulled from area rivers as deer seek water to relieve the high fever that accompanies the disease.
As of Monday, the Michigan DNR has reported 10,400 dead deer in 29 counties. On Wednesday afternoon, the DNR reported three deer dead of EHD in Oakland County.
To track the disease the DNR is asking residents to report the presence of dead deer to their nearest Wildlife Office.
Ten Rochester Hills areas are surveyed annually for a deer count, according to the report. The areas are:
- Butler Road/Oakland University
- Riverbend Park
- Faculty Subdivision
- City Hall
- Bloomer Park
- Winkler Mill
- North Rochester Road
- Fairview Subdivision
- Fairview Commons
Aerial surveys have taken place every year since 1999 with the exception of this year due to a lack of snow. There must be at least 4 inches of snow on the ground to do an aerial survey.
The numbers reported are for 2011. Data for 2012 will not be available until May.
After three consecutive years of decreases, deer/vehicle crashes in Rochester Hills were up 13.9 percent in 2011, according to the report. However, the number, 139 crashes, is below the benchmark of 150 crashes.
The survey also showed an increase in the local deer population from 107 counted deer in 2010 to 132 in 2011.
In order for DMAC to change their recommended approach to deer management, the deer/vehicle collisions would have to reach at least 200 for a given year and the deer aerial survey would need to increase by more than 20 percent from one year to the next.
The report also stated deer complaints in all categories — feeding deer, nuisance and roadkill — decreased drastically in 2011.
Rochester Hills has a total of seven moveable signs to alert drivers of high-risk areas. Two new signs that also include driver speed information have been added this year. The signs are used from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, the mating season when deer are most active.
The signage rotates between these high crash areas:
- Tienken Road
- Brewster Road
- Adams, along Oakland University
- Rochester Road
The committee is also looking into other low-cost options like subdivision exit signs similar to those used to educate on water conservation.