May 23, 2011
309 Cumberland Avenue
Portland, ME 04101
CONTACT: Kimberly Ballard
Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine
in favor of LD 1569,
“An Act To Restore the White-tailed Deer Population and Improve Maine's Wildlife Economy and Heritage”
May 20, 2011
Senator Martin, Representative Davis and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. My name is Nancy Smith and I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine. As many of you know from our previous interactions with the committee, GrowSmart Maine is a statewide non-profit membership-based organization working to grow Maine's economy, protect its distinctive character, and enhance our state's quality places.
As a part of our commitment to strengthening Maine’s economy, GrowSmart Maine is particularly enthusiastic about well grounded, thoughtful and creative proposals which seek to grow the economy in a sustainable manner while at the same time preserving our state’s unique character and quality of place. We believe this bill fits that description.
Deeryards matter to Maine. A favorite memory of my time as a forester for International Paper occurred one winter day when I was cruising timber in T1R6. I came upon an active deeryard, where nearly 40 deer were quietly “grazing” the area. To see them literally took my breath away! One of my favorite stories comes from my son Jon, and his Opening Day buck, shot while Jon stood on one foot because his other leg was shaking with so much adrenaline! Whether for hunting or visual enjoyment, deer are a part of Maine, and make no mistake, they are an important part of the Maine economy as well.
In particular, a healthy deer population is important to northern and eastern Maine, where populations have decreased in recent decades for a variety of reasons. Policy initiatives that provide landowner incentives to protect deeryards make sense, as does adding deeryard to the list of unique assets deserving special attention within the Land for Maine's Future Program.
Creating a mechanism with benchmarks for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to monitor, manage, and report to the legislative committee of oversight on deer population makes good sense.
As with most issues, this is not about choosing between Maine's economy and our environment; our culture and heritage charge us with enhancing both. This proposal has the potential to do just that.
Thank you for the opportunity to present these remarks.
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