Regarding the proposal to fence 55 acres in Milan with plastic mesh, I understand the concerns of landowners about deer damage to planted or wild vegetation on their lands.
However, I am also aware of a number of instances of snakes getting caught in, and killed by, plastic mesh. The large-scale impacts of plastic mesh on snakes are not known. Snakes have low reproductive rates and are subject to much unnatural mortality on roads, likely making some species of snakes vulnerable to human-caused population declines.
The Milan ZBA, landowners, and conservationists should be aware of the potential of plastic mesh to kill snakes and possibly other wildlife. Snakes, although not universally appreciated, are an important component of the Hudson Valley’s biological diversity.
Possibly the larger sizes of plastic mesh (e.g., greater than three-inch square mesh) would have a reduced impact on snakes.