Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chronic Wasting Disease Found in a Deer in Maryland

Chronic Wasting Disease Found in a White-Tailed Deer in Maryland

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received laboratory confirmation on February 10, 2011 that a white-tailed deer harvested in Maryland tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). This is the first confirmed case of CWD in Maryland. A hunter in Allegany County reported taking the deer on November 27, 2010 in Green Ridge State Forest. Maryland joins 20 other states and Canadian provinces with CWD documented in deer, elk or moose.

"Our team of wildlife professionals has been preparing for this result for some time so we are well-informed and ready to limit the impact of this event,” said Paul Peditto, Director of DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service. “We have sampled intensively for this disease since 2002 and see this as an unfortunate but somewhat inevitable outcome. The good news is that our preparation and planning ensure a sound scientific foundation for our response to this single positive test result. With the continued cooperation of hunters, farmers, deer processors and landowners who have supported our monitoring effort, we will manage this deer disease consistent with the best available science and with minimal impact on our deer population and the people who enjoy these great animals.”

“Concerns over CWD should not stop anyone from enjoying venison,” added Peditto, who explained that only four species of the deer family are known to be susceptible to CWD: elk, mule deer, moose and white-tailed deer. Of these, only the white-tailed deer occurs in the wild in Maryland and there are no reported cases of transmission to humans or other animals.

As always, hunters are advised to exercise caution and never consume the meat of sick animals. Hunters are also advised to avoid contact with the brain, spinal column or lymph nodes of deer — all of which are normally removed during the butchering process.

This is the first positive sample out of nearly 6,800 deer tested in Maryland since 1999. From 2002 until 2009 that sampling occurred statewide. In 2010, sampling efforts were focused on Allegany and western Washington counties due to the presence of positive cases in nearby West Virginia and Virginia. West Virginia first detected CWD in Hampshire County in 2005 and it was found in Frederick County, Virginia in early 2010.

“Maryland will continue to work closely with the wildlife professionals in our adjacent states to share information and coordinate response efforts. However, our primary goal is to ensure the public is fully-informed and knows what we know when we know it. We want to be certain that every interested Marylander understands this disease and recognizes that there is no risk to people, pets or domestic livestock. As in every other state with CWD, we will respond appropriately while ultimately learning to live with this disease with little impact to our wildlife or citizens,” Peditto concluded.

For more information on CWD in Maryland and the DNR Response Plan, please visit the DNR Website athttp://www.dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Hunt_Trap/deer/disease/cwdinformation.asp.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Maryland Trout Stocking

DNR Announces Spring Trout Stocking Schedule

This month, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will begin stocking the first of approximately 327,000 rainbow and brown trout into freshwaters across the State for trout fishing enthusiasts.

“Our pre-season stocking usually starts in early February but too much ice and snow can delay things as we saw last year,” says DNR’s Assistant Fisheries Director Don Cosden. “So, watch our website or call 1-800-688-3467 for updates. I’m already getting excited about the upcoming season and the chance to catch some trout as large as seven or eight pounds.”

The stocking schedule is now online at www.dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/stocking and is also available at DNR Regional Service Centers and license vendors. DNR encourages anglers to visit the maps of stocked and special managed streams for directions and more information on trout fishing locations. Pre-season stocking usually starts in the eastern part of the State followed by the western region as the weather warms up.

In order to protect our fish populations and keep their habitat healthy, DNR reminds anglers to clean and dry their gear between streams and outings. Field and laboratory research has confirmed that the felt used for waders is an ideal medium for collecting and transporting microscopic organisms. The discovery of the invasive algae didymo on the lower Savage River shows how easily unwanted organisms can be moved between watersheds and demonstrates that anglers must be more diligent than ever. A good scrubbing with dish soap or a 5 percent salt solution is an easy way to prevent the spread of invaders such as didymo and whirling disease. Convenient wader wash stations are available at several key wild trout areas including the Gunpowder River, Savage River, the North Branch of the Potomac (Barnum area), and Big Hunting Creek.

Anglers need to be aware that a proposed Maryland regulation to prohibit felt soles in all waters is scheduled to become effective in March 2011. DNR welcomes public comment on the proposal through February 28 via email to fisheriespubliccomment@dnr.state.md.us or by mail to: Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service, ATTN: Felt-Soled Wader Ban Regulation, 580 Taylor Ave., B-2, Annapolis, MD 21401.