Outdoor News Bulletin

Outdoor News Bulletin

August 2019 Edition | Volume 73, Issue 8 | Published since 1946

Battle Against CWD Ramped Up in 2019

As Autumn brings with it the start of big game hunting seasons across the country, wildlife agencies and managers are preparing for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance efforts that rely on test samples from harvested deer, elk, and moose. The data gathered from the results of this year’s game harvest, as in past years, will inform wildlife managers and researchers on the effectiveness of the nation’s collective efforts to control and contain CWD. Fortunately, the disease has yet to be found in a new state or province in 2019, though several states managing the disease have documented it in new counties or in higher prevalence than previous years. Following the discovery of CWD in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Quebec last year, the disease has now been been found in wild or captive cervid (members of the deer family) herds in 26 U.S. states, three Canadian Provinces, Norway, Finland, and South Korea.

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Legal Framework and Interagency Cooperation to Protect Big Game Migration Assessed

The Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) recently completed an assessment of the statutory and policy framework for conservation of big game migration corridors in 11 western states. WMI also examined the working relationships between state wildlife and transportation agencies in relation to reducing the impact of highways on migration and wildlife-vehicle collisions. This effort was funded by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and the Pew Charitable Trusts and built on an inventory of big game migration corridors WMI completed in 2017.

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WNS Communications Projects to Target Western States

Some of the major goals in bat conservation are to increase detection of and limit the spread of White-nose Syndrome (WNS) in western states. The first confirmed report of WNS in Washington State was in March of 2016, 10 years after the first observations of the disease on the east coast. In addition, WNS was confirmed in California in the spring of 2018. Topic 1 of the 2017/2018 USFWS White-nose Syndrome Small Grants Program called for outreach, education programs, and tools for WNS communications products. Two WNS communications projects were recently completed through this grant program that focus on public education in Washington and California.

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South Dakota's Nest Predator Program Reaches Its Goal Early

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem created the Second Century Initiative early in 2019 to improve the state’s pheasant population as they usher in the second hundred years of pheasant hunting. As part of this initiative, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks launched the Nest Predator Bounty Program on April 1, 2019 to help pheasants and ducks increase nesting success. Since then, the program has focused on introducing people to trapping as well as reducing localized populations of nest predators. The program provided an incentive by offering a $10 bounty for nest predator tails, up to $590 worth of tails per household. Prior to the start of the bounty program, SDGFP had a live trap promotion that provided 3 free traps to 5,500 people.

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Cooperative Research Unit Corner

Scientists Without Borders - Range-Wide Conservation for a Freshwater Mussel at Risk

Despite repeatedly being referenced as uncharismatic, few organisms can bring together 21 different agencies, drawing on collaborations from 14 states – but that is just what is happening with a freshwater mussel in the Northeast. The U.S. Geological Survey Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is leading research on brook floater, a mussel listed as threatened or endangered by most states where it occurs. This organism is a small (less than 100 mm) freshwater mussel that has a single, bright cantaloupe colored foot that it uses to burrow into sediment on stream bottoms. Concerns about its decline led to the creation of the Brook Floater Working Group (BFWG).

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