Outdoors notes: Wasting fight expands, bicycling plan moves ahead – Sports – GoErie.com

Wayne A. Laroche will take up a new state position assigned to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease and minimize its impacts on whitetails and elk.

To direct its ongoing and intensifying efforts to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease in wild white-tailed deer and neutralize its threat to wild elk, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has created and filled a new executive-level position.

Wayne A. Laroche, who has served as the agency’s Bureau of Wildlife Management director for the past two years, will be appointed Aug. 1 to Special Assistant for CWD Response, a new position, according to a news release from the Game Commission. In his new capacity, Laroche will lead the Game Commission’s efforts to slow CWD’s spread and minimize its impacts on whitetails and elk.

Efforts will begin immediately to hire a new director for the Bureau of Wildlife Management, a position responsible for managing the state’s 480 species of wild birds and mammals, including 60 game animals and furbearers.

Laroche, over the past two years, has taken the lead on managing Pennsylvania’s sporadic and smoldering CWD problem in wild deer populations, deploying a variety of measures designed to assess CWD’s prevalence and limit its spread in areas where it has been found.

“Because I’ve spent so much of my time on Pennsylvania’s CWD problem, and now that it’s flared up in wild deer within the state’s interior, it makes perfect sense for the Game Commission to devote even more resources to fighting this disease,” Laroche said. “Whitetails and elk are incredibly important to Pennsylvania. Imagine where conservation and tourism would be without them.”

On July 13, the Game Commission announced a free-ranging whitetail buck in Bell Township, Clearfield County, had tested positive for CWD. It was found in Disease Management Area 3, which includes parts of Clearfield, Indiana and Jefferson counties. It marked the first time the…

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