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Vol. LXII, No. 14
July 9, 2010

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Have a question about some aspect of working at NIH? You can post anonymous queries at (click on the Feedback icon) and we’ll try to provide answers.

Feedback: I noticed Deer Crossing signs on campus. Is the NIH campus able to sustain a deer population? Is anything going to be done to limit growth? I am concerned with having to watch out for deer in addition to general congestion and pedestrians while driving.
A buck takes a leisurely stroll up a stormwater culvert, pausing occasionally to sip. Four deer take their ease on the morning of June 30, just east of the on-campus residences along Cedar Ln.

Above, l: A buck takes a leisurely stroll up a stormwater culvert, pausing occasionally to sip.

Above, r: Four deer take their ease on the morning of June 30, just east of the on-campus residences along Cedar Ln.

Silleoette of family Silleoette of family

Here are three of four deer found noshing on leaves and sipping culvert water on the morning of June 30, just inside the perimeter fence along Cedar Ln., near Bldg. 31.

A buck enjoys a meal of leaves. Two deer gambol within sight of cars parked along Cedar Ln.

Above, l: A buck enjoys a meal of leaves.

Above, r: Two deer gambol within sight of cars parked along Cedar Ln.

Response from the Office of Research Services: A special site assessment at the NIH campus was completed by Humane Wildlife Services (HWS) on Feb. 5. During the assessment, no deer were seen on campus. Due to the campus’s proximity to Rock Creek Park, emigration and immigration from larger herds onto campus would be expected throughout the year. Deer movement is particularly high during the fall due to the onset of the breeding season and the commensurate change in food availability. Therefore fall would be the time of year to expect larger campus population size fluctuations.

The low number of deer present on campus does not warrant either lethal or reproductive management in relation to the pressure on vegetation and the likelihood of the transmission of Lyme disease or vehicle collision. Physically moving the deer off the campus, by either immobilization and relocation or herding out of the gates was not recommended by HWS, as the expense far outweighs any longstanding benefit. In addition, these techniques would pose a safety hazard to the public as well as the deer.

There have been no reported deer/vehicle collisions on campus. NIH has already taken the proactive step of placing wildlife crossing signs around the campus where needed and will periodically provide educational information to alert employees of the presence of wildlife on campus and what precautions to use as needed throughout the year.

Feedback: Our campus uses a lot of paper—and some of the documents have PII (personally identifiable information) on them. How come NIH doesn’t have a shred day? At least I haven’t heard of one. The office I work in doesn’t have the budget for such services all the time, but we could certainly use it.

Response from the Office of Research Facilities: A campus-wide shredding service was offered several years ago, but it was discontinued because commercial services and individual shredders have reduced demand tremendously. There was a Paper Shredding Day associated with the Earth Day event in 2009. Unfortunately, it was not utilized by many people and there was a decision not to include it this year. Depending on how much you shred, you may find a cost savings to purchase a shredder. NIH will pick up the shredded paper and send it to be recycled. Another recommendation is to look at reducing the amount of paper with PII that needs to be shredded. Can forms be filled out and saved on the computer? Do you have to print out all the documents? Can you change policies so electronic copies can be kept instead of hard copies?  

Feedback: When the flag in front of Bldg. 1 is at half mast, how can we find out why? Yesterday (5/19), once again, I saw it at half mast and quickly checked the Washington Post web site trying to determine who had passed away, but the reason for lowering the flag was not evident. This has happened many times now. If the occasion warrants lowering the flag, it would seem to warrant letting us know why.

Response from ORS: The lowering of a flag to half staff at NIH is handled by the NIH Police. This is based on a federal law that empowers governors of states, territories and United States possessions to lower the flag upon the death of an active member of the armed forces from their jurisdiction.

The NIH Police uses two systems to determine when the governor has ordered the lowering of a flag in Maryland—the Maryland Interstate Law Enforcement System and the National Law Enforcement Teletype System. Neither system is in the public domain. The public can determine whether an order has been given by the governor of Maryland by going to and selecting “Flag Status.”

On the day in question, May 19, U.S. flags were ordered lowered by Gov. Martin O’Malley to commemorate the death of Marine Cpl. Kurt S. Shea of Frederick, who died May 10 while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Feedback: Does NIH permit businesses to, in effect, post advertisements on campus? This morning there are two very large signs on the floor, leaning against the wall, near the C-wing entrance to Bldg. 31. One sign advertised a pharmacy that delivers (if I recall the name correctly, it was Village Pharmacy). The second sign advertised the Merry Maids housekeeping service. Both seemed inappropriate for federal property.

Response from ORS: The Recreation and Welfare Association has an authorized and established Merchant Program allowing vendors to go to authorized and dedicated locations for the purposes of selling goods and services. For example, the outside patio area of Bldg. 31 and at various tables near cafeterias located in Bldgs. 10 and 31 and approved R&W brochure stand locations are acceptable. These vendors are permitted to display their company sign and logo at their respective display table while they are physically on site. These vendors are not permitted to have signs at any other location than what is authorized.

Any other sign promoting a company’s product or service (as described in the question) should be removed per the prohibition cited in the Code of Federal Regulations (45 CFR Section 3.44 Solicitation).

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