Congress is expected to pass the CWD Research and Management Act (H.R. 5608, S. 4111) this week. Tennessee Wildlife Federation is actively involved in addressing chronic wasting disease (CWD) and has advocated for more than a year for the passage of the act, which will support management efforts and research to combat CWD, a contagious and fatal neurological disease affecting cervids—deer, elk, and moose.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill in December 2021 and it’s expected to be signed into law as part of the omnibus spending package. The funding is imperative to Tennessee, a CWD positive state, where the disease is spreading, largely across the southwestern part of the state. The funding in the act is critical to combatting this disease, which has the potential to forever impact our hunting traditions, as well as wildlife management and conservation funding.
“We are heartened that Congress has prioritized the research and management of chronic wasting disease,” said Michael Butler, CEO of Tennessee Wildlife Federation. “A proactive, collaborative, and science-backed approach is needed to contain this disease and safeguard our deer and elk herds. This funding is imperative to our state and others battling CWD. ”
The bill authorizes $70 million annually (2022–2028) for research and management of CWD, with the money to be split evenly between the two purposes. It also authorizes 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.
“For far too long, chronic wasting disease has ravaged deer, elk, and moose populations across the country and harmed ecosystems, sportsmen and women, and local communities that depend upon healthy wildlife populations and the outdoor economy,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We applaud Senators Martin Heinrich and John Hoeven and Representatives Ron Kind and Glenn Thompson for working tirelessly on this broadly supported bipartisan legislation that will ensure that state and Tribal wildlife managers can take effective action against the disease based on the best available science.”
To stay up to date and take action on behalf of wildlife, visit tnwf.org/cwd