EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
A herd of white-tailed deer enjoys the November weather in the City of Menominee. 
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard

A herd of white-tailed deer enjoys the November weather in the City of Menominee. 

MARINETTE — The Marinette Public Safety & Code Enforcement Committee approved a deer abatement grant application on Monday that would allow the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to assist the Marinette Police Department in removing excess deer from the city. The DNR also expressed a willingness to test the deer it removes to determine if their tissue has been contaminated as a result of drinking area groundwater. 

Marinette Police Chief John Mabry explained Monday that the Marinette Police Department was not awarded a deer abatement grant by the DNR in 2018, and as such, there is no abatement activity planned. The application being proposed would be for covering deer abatement expenses in 2019. 

“It’s required that we have some sort of mention at a public meeting, such as this, that we’re applying and that it’s okay to do so,” Mabry said. “We just want to mention it here and complete our application packet.” 

Deer abatement would not begin until after Jan. 1 if the application is approved. Mabry added that it may begin later in 2019 than that, as the DNR typically waits for there to be snow on the ground before moving forward with its plans. 

“The snow helps with target identification and safety,” he said. 

Ward 2 Alderman Jeff Skorik asked if the city would be required to provide matching funds for the abatement efforts. Mabry said the matching funds have previously been covered by wages paid to Marinette Police officers who assist in set-up for abatement, and the department has not “cut a check” in the past. 

The committee approved the deer abatement grant application unanimously. Mabry did not have any numbers available, from the DNR or locally, as to how many deer there are in the City of Marinette. However, he did mention in his presentation that the DNR has indicated that it may be able to provide testing of animal tissue from the culled deer to determine if any contamination exists due to groundwater issues, in particular whether any PFAS (poly-fluoroalkyl substances) are present in the deer. 

PFAS were found in the groundwater of the City of Marinette and the Town of Peshtigo by Johnson Controls/Tyco, which identified that the substances had spread beyond the fire testing boundaries of company property in November 2017. The company is currently engaged in a testing and containment program to assess PFAS levels in conjunction with the DNR.