CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department said on Monday, Nov. 9 that they have become “increasingly concerned about the spread of wildlife diseases in Wyoming.”
Game and Fish said that they are also concerned about the impact of chronic wasting disease may have on elk attending winter feeding grounds in the western part of the state.
The department is asking the public to participate in the “development of a long-term management plan” for elk winter feeding grounds.
Article continues below...
“While there are benefits to feeding elk on feedgrounds there are also challenges,” Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik said. “Game and Fish is preparing to develop a plan that will guide the long-term management of feedgrounds and the public’s voice on the issues is important.”
The department will be gathering public input in two phases. The first phase includes “listen and learn” sessions focused “on the many intricacies of elk feedgrounds.” The second phase will involve a collaborative process to allow the public provide formal input into the development of the plan.
“Anyone interested in the future of elk feedgrounds management is encouraged to attend one of the four upcoming Phase I virtual public meetings,” Game and Fish said. “Participants must register in advance of the meetings, and once registered, will be sent a confirmation email with a link to join the meeting.”
The virtual meetings will be held at the following times:
- Tuesday, Dec. 1 –5-8 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 2 – 1-4 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 2 – 6-9 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 3 – 4-7 p.m.
“The purpose of the meetings is to give participants a well-rounded discussion of elk feedgrounds,” Game and Fish Wildlife Division Deputy Chief Scott Edberg said. “Presentations will touch on the many different issues and considerations surrounding elk feedgrounds.”
Game and Fish said that each meeting will feature the same presentation, so there is no need for the public to attend more than one session. They note that space is also limited for each session.
“At each meeting, the public will hear presentations from Game and Fish including an overview of elk feedgrounds in Wyoming, current wildlife disease concerns, including the potential for CWD, and current brucellosis management on feedgrounds,” Game and Fish said. “Participants will also hear from federal partners on their role in the feeding of elk in western Wyoming.”
“There will be time for questions and answers after each presentation and brief public comments. A presentation recording will be available on the Game and Fish Elk Feedground Public Collaborative Process website by Dec. 10 for those unable to attend a live meeting. Upon completion of each virtual meeting, participants will be emailed an online comment form with questions to collect feedback. Written comments will be accepted electronically Dec.1, 2020 – Jan. 8, 2021.”
The second phase of the collaborative input process is expected to take place in 2021.
“Anyone can stay up-to-date on the Elk Feedgrounds Public Collaborative Process, including information on how to attend one of the upcoming public meetings via Zoom and how to submit written comments by visiting: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Get-Involved/elk-feedgrounds,” Game and Fish said. “The State of Wyoming supports the Americans with Disabilities Act. Anyone needing auxiliary aids should contact the Game and Fish at (307) 777-4501. Every effort will be made for reasonable accommodations.”