Mapping Chronic Wasting Disease Management: Identify Opportunities for Intervention

Science Center Objects

This research effort is an interagency partnership between U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to model the social-ecological system that encompasses chronic wasting disease management in the United States. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal, neurologically degenerative disease that impacts many cervid species in North America (e.g., elk, moose, mule deer, and white-tail deer). Active management of CWD in the U.S. is largely conducted by state fish and wildlife management agencies who act independently to manage CWD transmission under unique policy circumstances and CWD outbreaks in vastly different prevalence’s. This research effort seeks to develop and provide guidance to state agencies in working towards more cohesive strategies and identifying important intervention points that are common across different management situations.

The objectives for this research effort are to develop a shared conceptual model that accounts for key drivers of disease transmission as well as the consequences of CWD, including impacts on ungulate populations, other species, habitats, ecosystem processes, and surrounding human communities. Provide guidance and information to managers and decision-makers for CWD policy that is actionable across different groups working under different circumstances. Identify intervention points and opportunities within the shared conceptual model that are representative of what management activities that have been successful or unsuccessful and assessment of system processes may have led to those outcomes.

To meet these objectives, we are conducting a remote expert elicitation following Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation assessment phase procedures. Representatives from Federal, State, University, and NGO partners are working together to parameterize a situation model of chronic wasting disease transmission and management following open standards guidance. Using the developed model, results chains representing direct intervention points will be identified and described within the context of the current social and ecological activities.