A fleet of drones will take to the skies above Arlington next month in an effort to figure out how many deer call the county home.
The drones will be piloted by a firm contracted by the county and overseen by Arlington County police. Normally, drone flights this close to D.C. are strictly prohibited, but Arlington is being granted special permission by the Federal Aviation Administration and other federal agencies. The county is also coordinating with Reagan National Airport.
The drones will look for heat signatures in the woods in order to develop a count of Arlington’s white-tailed deer. This will be “the first accurate measure of Arlington’s deer population,” the county says, noting that “only anecdotal data… currently exists.”
The dones will be launched just before sunrise on Monday, April 5 and the count will continue until just after sunset, for up to two weeks.
The county is careful to note that the drones will only be looking for deer and will “not identify people.”
More from a county press release, below.
Arlington County has hired a contractor to perform a drone survey of heat signatures of the County’s white-tailed deer population. The survey information will assist with the development of the County’s Forestry and Natural Resources Plan. The survey will only collect heat signatures of deer and does not identify people.
“We’ve all seen deer in the County at one time or another,” said Alonso Abugattas, the County’s Natural Resource Manager. “We’d like more than just anecdotal evidence. We want to clearly see how many and where they are so we can mindfully steward our natural resources.”
Thermal and infrared imagery has helped improve counting by relating animals’ unique heat and visibility signatures to precisely count only deer. In one study, it was shown that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as drones, can be about 43-96% more accurate than ground or human-made observations in counting wildlife. Montgomery County, MD, has conducted UAV deer surveys in locations throughout Montgomery to determine carrying capacity.
The drones will be flying over Arlington beginning a half hour before sunrise April 5 (weather permitting) each day until 30 minutes after sunset, until the survey is completed. They will not be flying at night. The survey could take up to two weeks but is weather dependent. Drones are not permitted to fly over Arlington except for very limited instances. Arlington has coordinated the project with US Department of Homeland Security, Federal Aviation Association (FAA), Transportation Security Administration, Ronald Reagan National Airport, and Arlington County Police Department (ACPD). In accordance with FAA guidelines, ACPD will be onsite monitoring the drone flights.
This will be the first accurate measure of Arlington’s deer population. Only anecdotal data on Arlington currently exists. By 1900, white-tailed deer population had been destroyed in most of Virginia. Through the 1940’s to 1980’s with restocking efforts, laws protecting deer and favorable habitat, deer have rebounded at an exponential rate in Virginia.
Accurate data will determine Arlington’s deer carrying capacity. Deer are important and a necessary aspect of wildlife with important wildlife functions when in balance with the surrounding habitat. Per the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, the carrying capacity for deer can vary widely between and within communities. Data from the surveys will help determine Arlington’s carrying capacity.
Photo via Arlington County
An especially bold deer with unique markings was seen going for a morning run in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood today.
A reader sent the above video, taken at the intersection of Williamsburg Blvd and N. Ohio Street, wondering what the heck is going on with the “cow deer” that was galavanting around the neighborhood.
We steered that question to Alonso Abugattas, Arlington’s Natural Resources Manager — the expert in all things wildlife in the county.
“This is a piebald buck,” Abugattas explained. “As it’s the rut season, this buck is looking for does in estrus, and so is taking a lot of chances he would not normally do, often resulting in this being when the most road kills happen and car accidents involving deer happen.”
In other words, the deer has a recessive genetic trait that causes the cow-like spots, and was literally going buck wild looking for a mate.
That may answer the videographer’s question, but the takeaway for drivers is to remain alert on the roads this time of year, even in Arlington. You never know when a hyped-up deer will cross your path.
Video courtesy Joe Blackburn
Nonprofit Won’t Return to Arlington Office — “The American Diabetes Association isn’t planning a return to the Crystal City headquarters it left Alexandria for a few years back, not even when a Covid-19 vaccine is readily available and it’s safe to go back to the office again. The nonprofit is seeking to sublease all of its space at 2451 Crystal Drive, about 80,000 square feet.” [Washington Business Journal]
Voter Registration Open Until Midnight — “A judge on Wednesday granted a request from civil rights groups to extend Virginia’s voter registration deadline until Oct. 15 after the state’s online system crashed on the final day of the registration period, according to Virginia’s attorney general.” [Axios, Press Release]
Oh, Deer — The regional deer population has been increasing during the pandemic, which is making driving more dangerous this fall as deer potentially become “too comfortable” around roads. [NBC 4]
Park Rangers Patrolling for Rogue Mountain Bikers — “Park rangers have been patrolling the parks to keep the mountain bike riders off the natural trails. ‘We put up barriers in places where we can. We put up signs … in key areas we put up some things to block their access … but we’re focusing on education,’ Abugattas said.” [WTOP]
Voting Lines Should Move Quickly — “Arlington election officials are advising the public not to be dissuaded if lines for voting, either in advance of Nov. 3 or on Election Day itself, seem long. ‘You can expect to see a pretty long line, but that’s because of the spacing we’re trying to put between voters,’ county director of elections Gretchen Reinemeyer said.” Also, the Reinemeyer said the county is already fully staffed with volunteer poll workers. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Certification for Sheriff’s Office — “The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office has met all applicable Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards following an audit that was conducted earlier this year.” [Arlington County]
Pentagon City Planning Meeting Tonight — “Participate in a virtual workshop about Arlington’s community planning process for Pentagon City! The first workshop will include small group discussions about the community’s vision for the Pentagon City Area.” [Arlington County]
Crystal City Water Park to Get Big Upgrade — “JBG Smith Properties is pitching a major makeover for a small park at the heart of its Crystal City holdings, envisioning some new retail and even a bar atop a water feature. The developer filed plans with Arlington County earlier this month requesting an additional 6,100 square feet of density for the 1.6-acre park, located across the street from JBG Smith’s massive ‘Central District’ project at 1770 Crystal Drive.” [Washington Business Journal, Twitter]
Vote By Mail Facts — “The first round of vote-by-mail ballots have been sent to people who requested them, but it’s not too late to request yours. Ballot applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Oct. 23. To help you understand how voting by mail works — and feel confident in submitting your ballot — we’ve broken down the facts you need to know.” [Arlington County]
Deer Rescued from Country Club Fence — “On Tuesday night, a curious fawn tried to get through a metal fence in the Washington Golf and Country Club. Unfortunately her adventurous plan backfired, and the fawn ended up stuck and stranded. The country club called animal control, which is under the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, and that’s when Officer Shannon Rose sprung to action.” [Washingtonian]
Weekday Afternoon Robbery in Ballston — “At approximately 4:21 p.m. on September 23, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business, approached the front counter, and passed the employee a note demanding money and threatening them if they didn’t comply. The victim complied, and the suspect stole an undisclosed amount of cash, then fled on foot prior to police arrival.” [Arlington County]
National Landing Food Program Extended — “Thanks to generous support from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), Amazon, JBG SMITH, Equity Residential and individual Arlington residents, the National Landing Business Improvement District (BID) announced today that its Farm-to-Families food assistance program will be extended through the fall.” [Press Release]
Addiction Recovery Org Rebrands — “The name will change but the mission will remain the same – working to help those struggling with addiction turn their lives around. Phoenix House Mid-Atlantic announced Sept. 16 that it would change its name to National Capital Treatment and Recovery, following its split last year from the national Phoenix House organization.” [InsideNova]
Fox News in Arlington — “An apparently news-starved fox has taken matters into its own paws and has been spotted stealing copies of the Post from the porches of unsuspecting Arlington residents.” [Washingtonian]
In-Person Census Visits Starting — “To achieve a complete count, Census Takers will begin conducting home interviews. Starting the week of July 20 — nearly three weeks before the nationwide August 11 launch date — Census Takers will be visiting homes in Arlington, including an estimated 27,000 households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census.” [Arlington County]
Longtime Local Mail Carrier Dies — Jesus and Luz Collazos “immigrated to the United States and settled in Arlington, Va., where he spent 25 years as a postal worker. They raised a family in a home he bought after admiring it on his delivery route. On June 6, about a year into his retirement, he died of covid-19 at 67.” [Washington Post]
Should Route 29 Become John Lewis Highway? — One idea for the renaming of Lee Highway: name it after Rep. John Lewis, who died Friday. The civil rights leader grew up in Troy, Alabama, for which U.S. Route 29 is the main street. The highway also runs through his congressional district in Georgia. [Twitter]
Deer Rescued from Church Basement — “A huge thank you to Animal Services officers Schindler and D’Eramo from Humane Rescue Alliance for jumping in late last night to help our AWLA officers Ballena and Rose rescue a young deer.” [Facebook]
Synetic’s ‘The Decameron’ Project — “The Decameron, a series of 14th century Italian novellas about surviving the Black Death, is enjoying a surprising renaissance during the current coronavirus crisis… Now, Crystal City’s Synetic Theater, a physical theater troupe that specializes in literary adaptations, usually relying on music and movement to tell stories rather than spoken dialogue, has created a Decameron of its own.” [Washington City Paper]
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
A woman has been injured after striking a deer along Spout Run Parkway tonight.
The crash happened between the GW Parkway and Lorcom Lane, during a foggy evening commute.
Initial reports suggest the woman was bleeding profusely from the face after the force of the impact shattered the car’s windshield. The deer was found dead nearby.
Traffic maps show increasingly heavy westbound traffic on Spout Run, starting shortly after the exit from the GW Parkway.
Map via Google Maps
Storms Expected Today — “Strong to locally severe thunderstorms are in the forecast Tuesday afternoon and evening, and the potential exists for this to be a significant severe weather event.” [Capital Weather Gang]
ACPD: Expect Police at Fair — “As in years past, the [Arlington County Fair] will have dedicated police staffing and resources and fairgoers can expect to see a visible police presence… There are no known threats to Arlington County, however, the public is encouraged to remain aware of your surroundings at all times.” [Arlington County]
Local Volunteer Firefighting Legacy — “Tucked inside the Clarendon fire station on N. 10th St. is a special closed-off room. By long-standing arrangement with the county, it is dedicated to honoring the station’s decades of reliance on volunteer firefighters. Today’s professionally staffed Fire Station 4 deploys ‘no active volunteers, but retains a volunteer presence.'” [Falls Church News-Press]
Hotel Near HQ2 Sells For Big Bucks — “Host Hotels & Resorts sold the Residence Inn Arlington Pentagon City, a 299-room high-rise property at 550 Army Navy Drive, for $99.1M in a deal that closed July 1, according to Arlington County property records.” [Bisnow]
Deer Rescued from Fence — “Last week, Officer Solano and several neighbors were able to safely untangle this juvenile deer from a soccer net in a resident’s backyard. The deer immediately ran away, uninjured, back into the woods nearby.” [Twitter]
Man Brings Loaded Shotgun to Pentagon — “A Kentucky man taken into custody at the Pentagon last week had a shotgun, ammunition and a machete in his pickup truck, according to court documents… While speaking to the officers, [the man] made ‘incoherent statements about being in the area for ‘liberty business.”” [Fox 5]
Arlington police are investigating after a deer was killed in some unusual circumstances near Shirlington.
Officers discovered the deceased deer around 4:45 p.m. last Saturday (Nov. 17) in a wooded area along the 2600 block of S. Walter Reed Drive, according to Arlington County Police spokeswoman Kirby Clark. The area is home to some woods backing up to residential neighborhoods — Fairlington is on one side, Claremont is on another — as well as a trail along Lucky Run.
Clark says that animal control officers collected the animal and added that “at this point, the incident is not believed to be criminal in nature.”
However, neighbors who witnessed the incident and its aftermath believe someone felled the deer with a bow and arrow of some kind, and several posted about it in a local Facebook group.
Jennifer Toussaint, the county’s chief animal control officer, said she could not confirm those reports. Clark similarly added that she is “not able to confirm the deer’s cause of death.”
Arlington does have an ordinance making it illegal for “any person to shoot a compound bow, crossbow, longbow, or recurve bow at or upon the property of another without permission,” or within “100 yards of any public road, public building or structure, private residence or structure, or property of another.”
But the county does allow for the bow hunting of deer without antlers in certain time periods. Deer season ran from Oct. 6 through Nov. 16 this year, with another “late season” hunting period for the month of April.
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
Pupatella Raking in the Dough — “Budding Neapolitan pizza chain Pupatella has raised $3.75 million from several investors to open up to eight new company-owned pizza joints in the D.C. area.” [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Ranks as Top Bike City — “Arlington ranked 17th, up from 25th two years ago. [Bicycling] magazine states Arlington could have made a higher jump in the rankings, but Metro funding issues left less for biking improvements and limited improvements.” [Patch]
Deer Danger on Local Roads — “Across Northern Virginia, nearly 500 motorists will likely strike a deer in the road over the last three months of the year. Virginia wildlife officials are warning drivers to slow down this fall to avoid striking deer and other large animals that are found more often in the roadway.” [InsideNova]
Fireworks Law in Arlington — “In Arlington County, fireworks that are projectiles, explode, emit flames or sparks to a distance greater than twelve (12) feet are prohibited.” [NBC Washington]
Three Elected Dems Back De Ferranti — County Board Chair Katie Cristol, Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy and Sheriff Beth Arthur have endorsed fellow Democrat Matt de Ferrani in his challenge of incumbent County Board member John Vihstadt. Vihstadt, who is again running as an independent, has the endorsement of a trio of Democratic elected officials: County Board member Libby Garvey, Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos and Treasurer Carla de la Pava. [InsideNova]
AWLA Saves Fawn — An Animal Welfare League of Arlington animal control officer rescued a young deer from a roadway over the weekend, sending the fawn to a wildlife rehabber to recover. [Twitter]
Photo courtesy Craig Fingar
Seems like *everyone* wants to get aboard the @Capitals train this morning! (Crystal City Station, 8:30 a.m. today — this little guy somehow wandered into the tunnel & ended up at the station. Safely exited through the tunnel back toward DCA.) #OHDEER #ALLCAPS #WMATA #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/3ibeGuYwUe
— Metro (@wmata) June 12, 2018
Some commuters at the Crystal City Metro station were surprised to look up their phones this morning and see a deer running past them.
The deer “somehow wandered into the tunnel and ended up at the station” around 8:30 a.m., according to Metro. Video posted by the transit agency shows the deer running around the station, startling commuters who were otherwise glued to their smartphones.
“Seems like *everyone* wants to get about the @Capitals train this morning,” the Metro account quipped. Meanwhile, East Falls Church and other Metro parking lots are completely full due to riders heading to the Caps victory parade downtown.
— Berkeley Teate (@BerkeleyCTeate) June 12, 2018