New CWD management plan out for review

By Paul A. Smith of the Journal Sentinel

The Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on its latest draft plan for managing Chronic Wasting Disease in the Wisconsin deer herd.

The plan was released Friday; it would guide the state's CWD management efforts for the next 15 years.

Davin Lopez, CWD project leader for the DNR, said the plan reflects input from diverse sources, including a citizen stakeholder advisory group, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and an independent panel of experts in animal disease and related fields from around the country that reviewed and suggested modifications to the plan.

In general, the plan is more detailed than the previous version, including citing specific goals (pursuing a statewide ban on baiting and feeding) and actions (the use of sharpshooters to kill deer on public land and private property when permission can be obtained).

"Nonetheless, no matter how strong the plan is, it will only be successful if it has the support and associated active participation of our partners and the public," Lopez said. "Successfully controlling and managing CWD in Wisconsin will require a sustained effort over many years, likely far beyond this 15-year plan. It is very challenging for everyone involved, but the alternative of letting the disease spread uncontrolled is much and unacceptably worse."

Here is a link to the entire 15-year CWD draft plan:

Here is a link to sections of the plan, the previous 5-year plan and other CWD documents:

Comments may be submitted using a form available on the DNR's website. Those without internet access can call DNR at (608) 264-6046 to request a hard copy of the plan. The deadline for submitting comments is August 8, 2010.