My Column: Counting Raptors -- Officially
Identifying that Mystery Raptor

More about that Deer Exclosure

IMG_4784My post regarding the new deer exclosure at the Celery Farm generated quite a response -- and a few questions.

A follow-up is in order. Sorry if it's a tad long.

First of all, the Fyke Nature Association plans to post an interpretive sign at the exclosure that reads:


For more than a decade, the region’s ever-expanding White-tailed Deer population has been devouring the 107-acre Celery Farm Natural Area’s native plants.

The Fyke Nature Association has created this deer exclosure to regenerate one patch of understory and show what a healthy forest looks like.

Once this section rebounds, you will be able to compare it to the adjacent unprotected areas and see the impact that deer have on our environment. In this protected portion of the preserve, native plants will flourish, and so will the birds, small mammals, butterflies and nature’s other creations that depend on them.

Fyke wishes to thank the New Jersey Conservation Foundation for the generous Franklin Parker Grant that helped make this deer exclosure possible.


The exclosure, which takes up roughly 3/4 of an acre in the heart of the 107-acre preserve was not done out of the blue. It is a result of an environmental survey that the Fyke Nature Association commissioned in early 2018 by the Land Conservancy of New Jersey.

You can read the entire report here:


Download CeleryFarmManagementPlanFinal(7)


My recent post also prompted some questions. Michael Mehle wrote:


I’m all for giving a parcel of the Celery Farms a chance to reflourish, so my questions are sincere:

1) Is this phase 1? And will the fence be reconfigured after x amount of years to reflourish other areas of the CF?

2) What happens if deer get in the enclosure which to be fair, is likely given they can jump an average of 8’? How often will that be monitored and what is the protocol for removing live deer from it?

3) What is the estimated timeline for seeing results of this project?

4) What metrics do you have to indicate success for this project?

5) Who is responsible for maintenance of the fence and will it ever conceivably be taken down once it has reached its success threshold or agreed upon timeline assuming there is one?

6) What permissions were required to put this up? As I understand it (from the borough website), Fyke is responsible for creating and maintaining the footpaths, observation decks and nesting boxes. But the land is owned by the town. Does Fyke have full autonomy to do what it wants in the Celery Farms or does the town council have a say? It is unclear on either the Town or Fyke websites.


Here's how Fyke Nature President responded:


1) No, the fence will not be reconfigured.


2) 8-foot fences are the national standard for keeping deer out. I've never heard of a deer jumping an 8-foot fence. We are at the preserve every day and will check it. If for some reason deer did get in it, we can open the gate and let them out.


3) We should see native plants and wildflowers appearing next spring, 2020.


4) Visual observation of native plant growth.


5) We will do basic maintenance on the fence and have the fence company do any major repairs, if needed. I don't think it will ever be taken down unless the deer population returns to a normal level. It's currently 5 times what it should be.


6) Project was approved by the building department and land use. No, Fyke does not have full autonomy to do what it wants at the CF, but we do have knowledgeable people in our association who oversee work done there. I'm a borough employee (unpaid), who has worked at the preserve since 1983, with over 5000 volunteer work hours there. I send monthly reports to the Mayor & Council on all work we do there. All work at the preserve is done by community volunteers. The fence was paid for with a grant and from donation money to the Fyke Nature Association.


Sincerely, Mike Limatola, Marsh Warden.


(A thank you to both Mikes for the questions and answers.)