U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) introduced bipartisan legislation to support both the research and management of chronic wasting disease (CWD).
The bill would authorize $70 million per year, split evenly between these dual purposes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would administer the funds through cooperative agreements with state and Tribal wildlife agencies and agriculture departments.
“Chronic wasting disease is a direct threat to the wildlife that New Mexicans cherish, particularly deer and elk,” Heinrich, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation so that we can invest in much-needed research and mitigation. Together we can protect these species and our unique way of life.”
“CWD is a growing threat to both wildlife and livestock, impacting sportsmen, ranchers and the local ecology of regions across the U.S.,” said Hoeven, the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Our legislation would empower state and tribal governments to better manage and prevent outbreaks of this deadly disease, while also advancing new methods for detecting CWD and limiting its spread.”
The legislation 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; and
- 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; and
- Areas responding to new outbreaks of CWD.
In addition to Senators Heinrich and Hoeven, the legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
The House version, led by U.S. Reps Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.), passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support in December 2021 by a vote of 393-33.
The CWD Research and Management Act is supported by the following organizations: the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Boone & Crockett, National Deer Association (NDA), North American Deer Farmers Association (NADeFA), Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and the Mule Deer Foundation.
Click here for statements of support.
Click here for the full text of the bill.