(LANSING, MI.)–The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Natural Resources Commission will host a series of public engagement meetings on chronic wasting disease – a fatal central nervous system disease found in deer, elk and moose. The meetings will provide an opportunity for the commission and department to hear suggestions and observations from hunters and residents interested in the health of the state’s deer herd. Vicki Pontz, chair of the Natural Resources Commission, said that both the commission and the DNR are focused on achieving specific CWD management objectives that include:
- Slowing the spread of the disease.
- Achieving a low prevalence rate.
- Preventing the disease from reaching new areas.
- Maintaining Michigan’s rich hunting traditions.
“Hunter and citizen involvement and support of efforts to contain and eradicate chronic wasting disease are critical,” Pontz said. “We want to hear from our stakeholders. We are asking them to share their thoughtful opinions on any new hunting regulations they believe may be needed before the start of the 2018 deer hunting season.”At the meetings, DNR staff members will provide a CWD update and then collect attendees’ written ideas on how best to address this issue. Those unable to attend a meeting may participate in a web-based opportunity available starting April 10 at michigan.gov/cwd.
CWD public engagement meetings will take place in:
- Bay City, April 10 – 6 to 8 p.m., Delta College Lecture Theater, Room G-160, 1961 Delta Road in University Center.
- Cadillac, April 11 – 6 to 8 p.m., Wexford Center, 1320 North Mitchell.
- Kalamazoo, April 12 – 6 to 8 p.m., Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St.
- Detroit, April 17 – 6 to 8 p.m., Doubletree Detroit-Dearborn, 5801 Southfield Freeway.
- Rockford, April 18 – 6 to 8 p.m., Rockford Fine Arts Auditorium, 4100 Kroes St. NE.
- DeWitt, April 19 – 6 to 8 p.m., DeWitt High School Auditorium, 13601 S. Panther Drive.
- Marquette, April 24 – 6 to 8 p.m., Marquette High School, 1203 W. Fair Ave.
- Iron Mountain, April 25 – 6 to 8 p.m. (central time), Bay College, 2801 North US 2.
- Gaylord, May 1 – 6 to 8 p.m., Ellison Place, 150 Dale Drive.
- Newberry, May 2 – 6 to 8 p.m., Tahquamenon High School Auditorium, 700 Newberry Ave.
- Houghton, May 3 – 6 to 8 p.m., Magnuson Hotel, 820 Shelden Ave.
“Michigan’s hunters have successfully partnered with the DNR for many decades on wildlife and conservation challenges and opportunities,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “We know they care deeply about the long-term health and vitality of Michigan’s wildlife, and right now the state’s wild deer population faces no more serious issue than chronic wasting disease.” Since May 2015, CWD-positive deer have been found in Clinton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties. As of mid-January 2018, 57 free-ranging deer in those counties have tested positive for chronic wasting disease. CWD has not been found in the Upper Peninsula; however, the disease has been discovered in Wisconsin, approximately 40 miles from the western Upper Peninsula border. Since the first CWD finding, the DNR has taken quick, thoughtful action based on Michigan’s comprehensive CWD response and surveillance plan. Meeting information, additional ways to provide input on CWD management, the latest testing numbers and more information are available at michigan.gov/cwd.