Letter To William Thomas

United States Department of the Interior
National Capital Area
1100 Ohio Drive, SW.
Washington, D.C. 20242

JAN 31 1997

P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038

Dear Thomas:

Thank you for your letter concerning the rat population in Lafayette Park.

The life cycle of rats peaks twice annually in the spring and fall. This increased population is a normal seasonal variation. Construction activities can displace rats and force them to seek additional food and habitat resources (including park trash containers) Numerous park visitors feeding squirrels and pigeons indirectly provide food for rats. There are also several food sources outside the park (mobile street vending units and restaurant /hotel dumpsters) that provide food for rodent populations living in the park as well as food remnants left in the park.

President's park has an active rodent control program. There are 5 Certified Pesticide Applicators who routinely monitor rodent populations and apply rodenticides. In addition, we have attempted to "ratproof" trash containers. This requires retrofitting every container with a metal disk in the bottom and usually with a lid at the top to eliminate foraging by rats. Retrofitting trash receptacles with domes or lids has not been possible in some areas of President 's Park due to security concerns. In addition, throughout the park overgrown vegetation is being removed and replaced with smaller plants to reduce rat harborage in these areas.

Although the habitat for rats in President's Park can be reduced dramatically through our efforts, rats are still abundant in the surrounding neighborhoods and will continue to reinvade the park in search of food and shelter. Our goal, therefore, can only be to keep rat populations at levels providing for public health and safety.

Thank you for your interest in President's Park.


Mel Poole,
Park Manager
President's Park