Seneca white deer

A white deer at the former Seneca Army Depot

Deer Haven Park, the newly created entity to protect and manage a rare herd of white deer on the former Seneca Army Depot land, has partnered with an ecologist to develop a wildlife conservation plan. 

For nearly 20 years Keith Tidball has worked in natural resources management, land use planning and social-ecological research. He plans to assist Earl Martin, the winning bidder of the approximately 7,000 acres and owner of Seneca Iron Works, with plans to support the white deer, but also to support other wildlife and plant species throughout the Depot such as pollinators, wetland species and birds.

"I'm excited to partner with Earl, his team and the Seneca County IDA on this project," Tidball said in a news release. "This is a rare opportunity to engage a unique social-ecological system, right here in my neighborhood, that, though once intensely managed, has been relatively untouched for two decades."

Initial plans for managing the habitat include clearing overgrown brush and invasive species and assessing the perimeter fencing to identify where improvements need to be made. Martin has also contracted with a full-time maintenance manager to oversee mowing and other groundskeeping responsibilities. 

"We're in the early stages of developing a master plan for the preservation and maintenance of the Depot's plant and animal life," Martin said. "Dr. Tidball's expertise is critically important as we seek to protect the white deer and other wildlife throughout the property."

Tidball holds a master's degree in international development studies from George Washington University and a PhD in natural resources from Cornell University. He is a U.S. Army National Guard veteran and active member of the New York State Guard.

He also serves as chairman of the planning board for the town of Fayette, and his family operates Canoga Creek Farm, which focuses on sustainable farming and wildlife conservation.

Bob Aronson, executive director of the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency, said in a release that working with Tidball proves that Martin is invested in the property.

"He has already taken steps to improve the deer's habitat, upgrade security, and now these initiatives to address the Depot's future master plan and ongoing maintenance,"Aronson said. "We continue to work with Earl and his team, day in and day out, and look forward to closing on the sale of the property later this year."

For more information on Deer Haven Park, visit deerhavenpark.org.

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