Chronic Wasting Disease spending bill receives $3M increase

WASHINGTON — Congress has opted to make $10 million available to state wildlife agencies for Chronic Wasting Disease management through the end of the 2022 fiscal year on September 30.

With the $3 million increase from the previous fiscal year, the money is administered by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, even with the increase, they won’t go as far as is needed.

APHIS awarded 28 cooperative agreements in October 2021 that totaled $5.7 million to state and tribal agencies for CWD suppression, but 36 other proposals were left unmet due to limited funding. Since that time, CWD has  been detected for the first time in Alabama, Louisiana, and Idaho, with major outbreaks in wild and farmed deer in Iowa, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Texas.

“The unchecked spread of chronic wasting disease across the United States poses an existential threat to deer hunting, which generates $40 billion in annual spending, and as the status quo on the landscape continues to worsen, the inevitable costs of managing CWD continue to balloon,” said Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This increase in federal funding is a positive step forward, but more work remains to be done, including securing investments in research that will make disease management more effective in the long-term.”

Many states have come to realize that the most effective strategies for addressing the spread of CWD rely on hunter and landowner participation.

South Dakota secured nearly $214,000 in 2020 to support targeted surveillance and hunter outreach efforts across the state. Additionally, the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department made the most of the money they received by:

  • Increased Surveillance – Based on the natural movement of deer across the landscape, the Department ranked and prioritized sampling efforts, including non-endemic areas within 25 miles of known CWD “hot” zones.
  • Public Outreach – The GF&P issued mailers and used targeted emails to contact hunting license holders within priority surveillance areas and urge them to get their deer tested, shared a video on how to properly remove tissue samples for testing, used its licensing databases to expedite notifying hunters of test results through email and worked alongside a communications consultant to amplify their messages across the web.
  • Analysis and Response – South Dakota tested over 1,700 deer, elk, and moose in 2020, with 49 testing positive for CWD. As a result of such strong levels of sampling, wildlife managers can refine statistical analysis in the coming year and have already taken action to update carcass transportation and disposal rules.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and its partners pushed for this additional 2022 fiscal year funding to be made available through APHIS, but the hunting community is also urging decision-makers to do more. They say the Senate should take up and pass the CWD Research and Management Act, which passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin in late 2021.

That bill would immediately authorize $35 million annually for cooperative agreements with states and tribes, as well as an additional $35 million to support critical research into the disease.

Hunters can take action in support of the bill by clicking here.

Categories: Local News, National News, South Dakota News