The National Park Service announced that removal operations of white-tailed deer started at the William Floyd Estate today and will continue through the end of the month.

The operations were approved through the 2016 Fire Island National Seashore White-tailed Deer Management Plan.

“The goal of this effort is to restore a balanced ecosystem that supports the diversity of plants and animals found on Fire Island and at the William Floyd Estate,” said Fire Island National Seashore Superintendent Alexcy Romero said in a statement.

The William Floyd Estate is part of the Fire Island National Seashore.

“Enhancing the various habitats and species diversity makes Fire Island a stronger and more resilient place for wildlife to live and thrive,” Romero said. “The overabundance of white-tailed deer has resulted in the depletion of native tree and shrub seedlings and saplings preventing the natural ability of the forest to mature and regenerate and has decreased habitat for a multitude of native wildlife species. Without intervention, there is little hope for these habitats to recover from the impacts of an overabundance of deer.

This year’s deer removal operations is the second year of a three-year effort to for the NPS to reach a desired deer density at the William Floyd Estate and island-wide on Fire Island of approximately 20 to 25 deer per square mile. NWS said this density allows for a healthier, more diverse forest habitat that can support a healthy deer herd as well as the other native wildlife.

“Safety is our top priority during this operation,” Romero said. “The Seashore has contracted with wildlife professionals to carry out the removal operations at the William Floyd Estate and on federal lands on Fire Island. These contractors are highly qualified firearm experts experienced in conducting wildlife reduction operations within lands adjacent to a suburban environment. Areas of the park will be closed when operations are underway for the safety of the public.”