Governor Granholm Creates Task Force to Address Chronic Wasting Disease Threat to Michigan

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed an Executive Order creating a task force to address the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Michigan’s deer and elk populations.

The task force will be chaired by former Department of Natural Resources Director Howard A. Tanner, and William W. Taylor, chair of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University, will serve as vice-chair.

“Even though CWD has not yet crossed into Michigan, it poses a threat to our hunting and conservation communities and wildlife resources,” Granholm said. “This task force will develop a comprehensive statewide prevention plan to limit the threat of the disease.”

“I am especially pleased that Drs. Tanner and Taylor have agreed to provide their expertise and leadership on this task force,” Granholm added. “Their credentials are impressive, and their close connection to the hunting and conservation communities will serve this body well as it crafts the best public policies for dealing with CWD.”

The task force will include five members who will be appointed by the Governor. The directors of the Departments of Agriculture, Community Health, Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, State Police, and Transportation will serve as non-voting members of the task force.

The task force will:

  • Review existing state efforts regarding prevention of CWD.
  • Develop and make recommendations to implement a comprehensive and coordinated state CWD prevention plan.
  • Make recommendations on the clarification of enforcement authority to prevent the spread of CWD into Michigan and, if ever detected in Michigan, to prevent the spread within the state.
  • Recommend a process for the development of a widely-accessible reference database of available and current information concerning CWD.
  • Identify mechanisms to promote effective communications and coordination of efforts between state, federal, provincial, and local officials regarding CWD.

The task force will make its recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Governor by September 19, 2003.

“As a sportsman, I am concerned about the spread of CWD into Michigan, and I am glad that we are taking steps to prevent it,” said Lt. Governor John D. Cherry. “The hunting and conservation communities should be assured that preventing CWD in Michigan is a priority for our administration because we recognize the value of our hunting resource.”

CWD is a brain disorder that kills deer and elk. The exact form of transmission is not known. CWD has appeared in deer and elk in Wisconsin, making it a threat to Michigan’s deer and elk populations. CWD has been discovered in free-ranging cervids in Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. The disease has also been diagnosed in captive cervids in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada.