The National Deer Association (NDA) is celebrating the recent passage of the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act as part of a year-end omnibus spending bill. 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 CWD research to combat chronic wasting disease in deer, elk and other cervids. The NDA was proud to endorse the introduction of the legislation, joining a strong group of conservation and industry organizations.
“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,” said Nick Pinizzotto, NDA’s President and CEO. “New dollars for state management and additional research into CWD are desperately needed, as evidenced by the disease’s continued spread in 2022. Time is of the essence as we continue to seek ways to manage this terrible disease.”
The House version of the bill passed in December 2021, but the Senate version was held-up in 2022 solely by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). 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 administer the funds through cooperative agreements. The bill also includes 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 of passage.
The NDA is dedicated to ensuring the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting and outlines deer diseases as a critical focus area. 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.