Bipartisan legislation introduce in the U.S. Senate would authorize $70 million to support both the research and management of chronic wasting disease (CWD).
“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports the CWD Research and Management Act as an important acceleration in our national fight against this deer and elk disease,” said Blake Henning, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation chief conservation officer. “Supporting state and tribal efforts to detect and manage the disease locally, as well as develop new practical solutions through targeted research is an important advancement.”
Introduced by Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), the legislation would allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to administer the funds through cooperative agreements with state and tribal wildlife agencies and agriculture departments. It also includes an authorization for USDA and state and tribal agencies to develop educational materials to inform the public on CWD and directs USDA to review its herd certification program (HCP) within 18 months.
Specifically, the legislation authorizes funds for the following priorities:
- Methods to effectively detect CWD in live cervids and the environment.
- Testing methods for non-live cervids.
- Genetic resistance to CWD.
- Sustainable cervid harvest management practices to reduce CWD occurrence.
- Factors contributing to local emergence of CWD.
- Areas with the highest incidence of CWD.
- Jurisdictions demonstrating the greatest financial commitment to managing, monitoring, surveying and researching chronic CWD.
- Efforts to develop comprehensive CWD management policies and programs.
- Areas showing the greatest risk of an initial occurrence of CWD.
- Areas responding to new outbreaks of CWD.
The CWD Research and Management Act is supported by the following organizations: the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Wildlife Federation, Boone & Crockett, National Deer Association, North American Deer Farmers Association and the Mule Deer Foundation.
(Photo credit: Arizona Game and Fish Department)