So what happened to promised action on CWD response plan?

The CWD Response Plan Review Committee met three times in Madison last winter, ending with its final report in February. The DNR told the committee it would bring its recommendations for changes by December. (Photo by Tim Eisele)

Was the CWD Response Plan Review Committee that held three meetings in Madison this past winter a total waste of time?

That would be hard to believe when you realize that chronic wasting disease has spread and is now found in wild deer in at least 20 Wisconsin counties.

Implications of the spread of CWD are concerning, as families of hunters are concerned about the venison that is served at the dinner table, and deer hunting generates a lot of money for the state’s economy.

The DNR hosted three meetings of the CWD Response Plan Review Committee this past winter, co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The committee ended with 62 potential action items that were presented to the Natural Resources Board on March 1, and the DNR said it would return with any changes or updates to recommend to the NRB by December.

The Natural Resources Board held its December meeting Dec. 12-13 in Madison and nowhere on the agenda was the promised report on CWD plan changes, or a request from the DNR to the NRB to make changes.

Ostensibly the DNR is holding off because Dan Meyer recently replaced Kathy Stepp as the DNR secretary. The post of DNR secretary has operated as an arm of the governor since about 1995. In appointing Dan Meyer to that post, Gov. Scott Walker has again hired someone who has little professional training in natural resources.

But Meyer was appointed in September, and DNR biologists, the Congress, and DATCP have had six months to solidify their CWD recommendations and two full months to bring the new DNR secretary up to speed on what needs to be done.

Just how concerned is the DNR, and Gov. Scott Walker, with CWD?

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