CWD Research and Management Act Passes

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

The Act will support state and federal management efforts and research to combat chronic wasting disease (CWD)

The Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act will support efforts to research and combat CWD. Image by Kansas Dept of Wildlife and ParksHunting and conservation organizations are cheering the recent passage of the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act. Introduced by Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), the Act will support state and federal management efforts and research to combat chronic wasting disease (CWD).

“The passage of the CWD Research and Management Act is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication by conservationists across the country,” National Deer Association (NDA) President Nick Pinizzotto said in an NDA press release. “New dollars for state management and additional research into CWD are desperately needed, as evidenced by the disease’s continued rapid spread in 2022. Time is of the essence as we continue to seek ways to manage this terrible disease.”

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The House version of the bill passed in December 2021, but in 2022 Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) held up the Senate version. As a result, the bill’s language was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 — a large government spending bill that includes $1.7 trillion in authorizations for funding in all sectors of our government and lives.

The bill authorizes $70 million annually from Fiscal Year 2022 through Fiscal Year 2028 for research and management of CWD, with the money to be split evenly between research and management. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allocate the funds through cooperative agreements. The bill also includes authorization for USDA and state and tribal agencies to develop CWD educational materials for the public and directs USDA to review its herd certification program (HCP) within 18 months of passage.

The NDA states in its press release, “Slowing the spread of CWD is of primary concern, and NDA has been a leading organization since original legislation for this bill was crafted. CWD is one of the largest threats to wildlife conservation that we have encountered over the last century. Undoubtedly, federal leadership and coordination in research and testing efforts is necessary in the management of the disease, and the NDA will continue to work to maximize yearly appropriations authorized by the passage of the CWD Research and Management Act.”

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