Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bowling For Key Deer

Imagine my surprise when I opened the newspaper and found our County Commissioner suggesting a speed limit INCREASE on Highway One. How very cool.

The thing is that every time a stretch gets repaved we lose a few more chances to legally pass dawdlers as they tend to replace dotted yellow lines with solid double yellow lines. And now here we have a powerful voice suggesting the speed limit be raised. Extraordinary!

The stretch in question is just north of Big Pine Key where the limit is 45mph by day and 35mph by night. The idea behind the restriction is to stop cars from killing Key Deer. Which sounds reasonable enough except for one thing. Or rather eight million things.

The state decided that with a death toll of about 30 dead deer a year it was time to do something. They built an elaborate overpass and fenced it all in at a cost of eight million dollars.

Access to the overpass is protected by cattle grids and the sides are covered by deer proof fences which have all been very effective at keeping out the deer. All of which has also created a secure passage for vehicles.

Motorcyclists Up North worry all the time about deer in the roadway at night but on this overpass such deer have been banished.

The deer, whose reserve has been split by the Overseas Highway, have two underpasses connecting both sides.

The overpass itself is a magnificent roadway with clear sight lines.

And yet already one voice raised itself in anguished anonymous protest in the paper when the idea of increased speed limits was aired. The protest made it sound as though increasing the limit to 55mph would lead to wholesale deer slaughter.

Then of course the protest concluded with the time worn question: what's the hurry? As though everyone driving the Overseas Highway is retired or on vacation. I wish people who dawdle spent their time dawdling and paying attention while behind the wheel. Well, as they say we can't get everything. You either drive the limit and pay attention, or you dawdle and fiddle with your phone and admire the view. God forbid you should pull over and let those with a deadline go by!

I suppose this speed limit idea will die a death, as most common sense ideas do.

I also read in the paper that feral cats have been photographed ravaging marsh rabbits and traps are scheduled to be set to catch the wild moggies. That idea has raised a shit storm because the untrusting folk who feed the cats suspect they won't go to a retirement home when caught.

It turns out trust is in short supply where wild animals are concerned, one way and another.

However when you look at Big Pine Key full of deer and fence-free, where speed limits aren't going to be raised, and then you look at the elaborate barricades built just north of this section you have to wonder how it is the two sections merit the same speed limits. But that sort of common sense question is better never asked.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


blameitonbuffett said...


You insensitive bastard. Why not just Nepalm all of the those defenseless deer, and whatever else may reside on those islands, then you can speed around in that contraption of yours without worry of any wildlife whatsoever.

I agree that this seems utterly nonsensical as I too have noticed more Key Deer on Big Pine than in the actual "protected" sanctuary where they are "supposed" to be. Seems that the fence was the point of it all... so that you wouldn't HAVE to slow to a creep to avoid making pudding out the cute little things.

I'll be thinking of you and this dilemma as I grill out Venison burgers this weekend. Have a delicious Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

On Sunday I noticed the fence had been cut (AGAIN!) on the North East side where people use the old bridge abutment to fish from. It is easy to access by walking under the bridges but people are too lazy to figure it out so they cut the fence. I had some plastic wire ties so I put the plastic patch back in place. Last year, just a few feet away from this years cut in the fence deer had been coming through last years cut and feeding on the roadside grass- the grass is aways greener....(that cut was repaired last year) If people respected the fence and did not sabatoge the 8 million dollar protection effort I would be for increasing the speed limit but as it is even with the fence deer are getting killed inside the fenced area.

cats? The Lower Keys marsh rabbit is a federal endangered species with a population estimated to be about 100 to 300 individuals. The species could go extinct within 2 or 3 decades if current mortality rates continue, and the greatest threat to the Lower Keys marsh rabbit now appears to be predation. A 1999 study of management options for the Lower Keys marsh rabbit reported that free-roaming cats were responsible for 53% of all marsh rabbit deaths, both juvenile and adult. [FN38] The researchers recommended that management efforts to save the species from extinction should be centered on developing a plan to reduce cat use of marsh rabbit habitat, and they suggested that intensive public education on the effects of cat predation would not only help save the marsh rabbit, but would also have a positive effect on other rare native species, such as the Key ringneck snake, silver rice rats, and white-crowned pigeon.

Conchscooter said...

Like I said these issues wind people up.
According to the paper ONE key deer died in the flyover in the last year.

As for the moggies, just like iguanas they need to be controlled but let's face facts that means extermination. Educate the willfully obtuse on that one. Good luck.

Conchscooter said...

This reply is for Buffett. All others avert their eyes.
I will think of you as I crank through the overpass and imagine you falling under my front wheel before I scoop you up and take your pudding'ed remains to the road kill barbecue on Big Pine this weekend.
Love you.