Madison- The state Department of Natural Resources has announced it will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on proposed rules for managing chronic wasting disease in the wild deer herd in Wisconsin.

Currently, the department is attempting to control and eradicate chronic wasting disease (CWD) under the authority of emergency rules approved by the state Natural Resources Board that went into effect on July 3, 2002. A permanent rule needs to be in place by September 1, 2003. The emergency rule provisions include regulations intended to help control and possibly eliminate CWD in the state, said Kurt Thiede, regulation policy and outreach specialist with the DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management.

“The permanent rule to address CWD in Wisconsin will be of considerable magnitude and scope if it is adopted by the Natural Resources Board and legislature,” Thiede said. “Given the far-reaching environmental and socio-economic effects, we want to prepare an EIS in conjunction with the permanent rule-making process.”

Thiede said DNR staff expect the proposed permanent rules to address the same issues contained in the emergency rules including:

* Extended deer seasons. * Earn-a-buck deer hunt requirements. * Landowner permits to remove deer. * Special registration requirements. * Baiting and recreational feeding. * Using aircraft to help reduce deer numbers

The EIS will examine alternatives to the proposed rules and the environmental and socio-economic effects of the proposed permanent rules.

Thiede said the department is seeking input from the public to identify the key issues, identify potential alternatives, and determine environmental effects of the proposed permanent rules. In order to have the permanent rules in place before the emergency rule expires the agency needs initial public input on the development of the EIS by Dec. 11, 2002. There will be additional public review of the completed EIS beginning Feb. 14, 2003 and ending March 31, 2003.

Comments or questions on the EIS should be directed to: Kurt Thiede, DNR Wildlife Management, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or by calling (608) 267-2452 or e-mail him at [email protected]