Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Wyoming: CWD collaborative working group take first steps on recommendations

Cheyenne - Members of the chronic wasting disease collaborative working group recently gathered for their first meeting in Lander. The group took the first steps on formulating recommendations to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for the state’s chronic wasting disease management plan. The collaborative effort is being facilitated by the Ruckelshaus Institute, Haub School of Environmental and Natural Resources with the University of Wyoming.

Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik addressed the members and provided information on the direction and outcomes he would like to see from the collaborative process.

“The great diversity of this group, and the facilitation by Dr. Jessica Western from the Ruckelshaus Institute, is critical to the success of this public process,” said Director Nesvik. “CWD is a challenging disease, and Game and Fish wants to hear from the public on how the department should move forward. This working group’s communication with their constituents is a direct line to hear from the public.”

During the three-day meeting, the working group heard presentations from Wyoming and Colorado CWD experts, including Game and Fish’s Mary Wood and Hank Edwards and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Mike Miller on the disease, diagnostics and surveillance.

The working group made progress on Director Nesvik’s charge by reviewing and amending the Charter, the document that outlines the roles and responsibilities of the working group, the Game and Fish and the Ruckleshaus Institute. The group also reviewed comments from the public meetings. To make the best recommendations, the members requested additional information on how Wyoming currently manages deer and elk populations.

Game and Fish will present requested management information at the next meeting, scheduled for August 20-22 in Casper. Guest speakers will include the Wyoming Department of Health and Mike Samuels, a scientist working on CWD in Wisconsin. Meeting information will be available on the CWD working group website.

The timeline for the remaining working group process extends into early 2020. The group will gather again following the August meeting in September. A draft of the plan will be available for public review and comment in December with another round of five public meetings in Casper, Laramie, Sheridan, Worland and Pinedale. After input is integrated by the group in February, the revised draft CWD management plan will be presented to the Game and Fish Commission for their review and approval in March 2020.