The implementation phase is all about taking action—a culmination of the information gathering and analysis conducted in the first two phases. The centerpiece for the implementation phase is the creation of a deer management plan. There is no one right way to develop your community's plan, but effective plans share several common elements by spelling out: drivers (i.e., problem definition), goals, budget, communications, and monitoring and indicators. Will your community take a partnership approach to implementing pieces of the plan, or will a single entity be responsible? Be sure to state the responsibilities clearly.
Key information needs
The information needs at this stage are technical and logistical. “How-to” information about developing a deer management plan will be especially useful. For example, Pennsylvania's Guide to Community Deer Management describes useful components to include in a deer management plan (pp. 8-9). Be sure to check out how other communities have implemented similar management actions as you bring your own program to life, such as: Burnsville, Minnesota; Greenwich, Connecticut; Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
- Addressing public safety concerns. An implementation plan needs to include clear information on the steps that program managers will take to address public safety, and those plans and procedures need to be communicated to community residents. Community members may block implementation of a management plan if these steps are not adequately addressed.
- Legal and regulatory challenges. Community members who oppose use of the management actions selected by their leaders may take legal actions to prevent those actions from being taken. For example, groups that oppose hunting may take legal action to block implementation of a controlled deer hunt. Some communities will need to prepare and defend an environmental assessment document to address state regulatory requirements or legal challenges. Other communities have firearms discharge ordinances that have to be modified or removed before the community can use deer hunting as a management tool. Any of these challenges can result in long delays between the decision making and implementation phases of CBDM.
- Making evaluation plans explicit. One of the deficiencies that often appear in CBDM plans is a lack of clear direction on how outcomes of CBDM actions will be assessed or monitored. The best evaluation plans provide details on how, where, and when specific monitoring and evaluation activities will be executed. Evaluation plans should be linked to achievement of community-established objectives.
- Resource limitations. Implementation of even a modest management plan requires funding, paid staff time or volunteer management and maintaining a flow of communication about deer management activities. Program costs range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands in a given year. Consider how your community will handle startup and recurring costs over time. Realistic budgeting for these expenses will help set your community on a sustainable path.