The National Park Service announced that it will be reducing the deer population at the William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach from Feb. 20 to March 31.

The goal of the operation, approved through the Fire Island National Seashore White-tailed Deer Management Plan, is “to provide a healthy forest habitat for all plants and animals, and to preserve the historic landscape of the William Floyd Estate,” Fire Island National Seashore Superintendent Alex Romero said in a statement. The estate is a unit of the seashore. 

“White-tailed deer have depleted native tree and shrub seedlings and saplings which prevents the ability of the forest to mature and regenerate, and decreases habitat for a range of native wildlife species, Romero said. “Without intervention, there is little hope for these habitats to recover from the impacts of an overabundance of deer.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will carry out the operation at the estate while it is closed to the public.

USDA-APHIS employees are highly qualified firearm experts experienced in conducting wildlife reduction operations within lands adjacent to a suburban environment, according to the statement.

The deer management strategy, approved in April 2016, seeks achieve a deer density goal of 20 to 25 deer per square mile and to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.

All the meat is safe for human consumption and will be donated to local food banks, the park service said.