NDA Urges Appropriators to Protect Cooperative CWD Funding

The National Deer Association (NDA) recently joined a handful of conservation organizations in sending a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders offering our support for increased funding to state agencies to surveil, research and contain the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) nationwide.

For Fiscal Year 2021 (FY2021), the House provided $11 million and the Senate proposed $10 million for the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Equine, Cervid and Small Ruminant Health Program. Of those sums, the Senate subcommittee required that no less than $6 million be allocated to facilitate cooperative agreements with state wildlife and agriculture agencies for CWD management and the House legislation provides for no less than $7 million. Unfortunately, APHIS has previously used cooperative funds for indemnification payments to CWD-positive captive cervid facilities for the cost of depopulating the facilities, despite conference report language that clearly makes other funds available for indemnification payments.

Now, we urge the committees to adopt language included in the Senate-proposed FY21 legislation that reaffirms congressional intent and establishes that the funds made available for indemnification are not derived from those made available for cooperative agreements. Such language will ensure that funds are administered in a manner that best supports the increasingly strained state agency resources tasked with managing CWD.

CWD poses the greatest threat to the future of free-ranging deer populations and hunting in the United States. Ensuring the security of investments in state agency response to CWD is not only vital to ensuring healthy deer populations, but also the security of conservation funding streams and the North American model of conservation well into the future.

About Torin Miller

Torin Miller is a licensed attorney and NDA’s Director of Policy. He works at the intersection of conservation and natural resources law, policy, advocacy and education. He has a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University, a J.D. from Penn State Law and is finishing a master's degree in wildlife and fisheries science at Penn State. Torin came to NDA via the National Deer Alliance, where he served as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator.