CWD forum planned for December 7, 2016


The National Elk Refuge is co-hosting a CWD forum in Jackson, Wyoming on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. The forum will be held at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.


December 8, 2016 Update:

The CWD Forum was held on December 7, with approximately 100 people attending all or part of the presentations. Our sincere thanks to all who attended the forum. 

The entire conference was videotaped. Each session title listed in the Schedule section below is a hotlink to view the individual talk. Each video may take a moment to load.

The National Elk Refuge, along with State and other Federal land and wildlife managers and other non-profit organizations, will co-host a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) forum on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. The forum will be held at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, located 2.5 miles north of the Town Square in Jackson, Wyoming.

The forum is dedicated to highlighting CWD research and management considerations. The goal of the event is to share current science-based information with the general public and all organizations concerned with the long-term health of area elk and deer populations.

The event is open to the public and free of charge. A $15 lunch will be available for purchase on the day of the event; an evening social includes complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar.

Attendees need to register for planning purposes. Please use the online registration form provided at this link

Additional information will be posted here as organizers finalize the schedule and event details. Anyone interested in attending the forum is encouraged to bookmark this web link and check back for updates.


8:00 - 8:30 am
Welcome table: pick up name tags, obtain a printed agenda, ask questions about the forum, etc.

Morning Presentations

8:30 - 8:45 am
National Elk Refuge Manager Steve Kallin: Welcome and introductions

The morning and afternoon sessions were moderated by Tom Segerstrom, who serves as the Executive Director of  the Teton Conservation District. He is a certified wildlife biologist and historically worked in several agencies with important experience in the mining industry. Segerstrom also worked as a Land Steward and Staff Biologist for the Jackson Hole Land Trust for 15 years.

8:45 - 9:30 am
Dr. Mary Wood: Wyoming CWD Surveillance

Dr. Mary Wood is the Wyoming State Wildlife Veterinarian and supervises the Veterinary Services Branch of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD). She oversees the Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife Health Laboratory, wildlife disease surveillance programs, and the Thorne-Williams Wildlife Research Center. Additionally, she participates in both free ranging and captive wildlife disease research across the state with focuses in CWD and respiratory disease in bighorn sheep. Dr. Wood charis the WGFD Chronic Wasting Disease Management team and is actively engaged in regional and international CWD collaborations.

9:30 - 10:15 am
Dr. Davin Henderson: Studies of CWD Transmission and Shedding Using Rapid Sensitive Amplification Assays

Dr. Davin Henderson received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics.  He is currently a Research Scientist at the Prion Research Center at Colorado State University where he works with Edward Hoover to understand the pathogenesis and replication potential of Chronic Wasting Disease prions affecting deer and elk. He has 5 years of experience working with the RT-QuIC assay and over 15 years of experience in protein biochemistry.  He is an author on over 10 manuscripts utilizing the RT-QuIC assay and has pioneered the detection of CWD prions in excreta.

10:15 - 10:30 am

10:30 - 11:15 am
Dr. Joel Pedersen: Soil and Environmental Transmission of CWD

Dr. Joel Pedersen is the Rothermel Bascom Professor of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He holds appointments in the Departments of Soil Science, Chemistry, and Civil & Environmental Engineering. He is a faculty member in the Environmental Chemistry and Technology program and the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center. Prof. Pedersen earned his B.S. degree at University of California Irvine, his M.S. degree at California Institute of Technology, and his doctorate at University of California Los Angeles. The Pedersen research group studies physicochemical and biophysical processes in terrestrial and aquatic environments and has pioneered work in understanding the environmental transmission of prion diseases. His group’s research emphasizes mechanistic studies of the interaction of organic contaminants and macromolecules with environmental interfaces. Prof. Pedersen received the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award and the Early Career Award from ASA-CSSA-SSSA (Agronomy Society of America-Crop Science Society of America-Soil Science Society of America).

11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Amy Girard: Modeling the Effects of CWD on a Rocky Mountain Elk Population Using Genotype-Specific Mortality Rates

Amy Girard recently received her master’s degree from the University of Wyoming through the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences. While focused on wildlife disease, she studied the transmission dynamics of the parasite Eleaophora schneideri and the effects of genotype on CWD driven mortality in elk herds of Wyoming. Amy has used her education and interest in wildlife to study a wide variety of species including birds and fish. Prior to graduate school, Amy worked with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department studying brucellosis on elk feedgrounds. Amy currently works with Teton County Weed and Pest. 

12:00 - 1:30 pm: Lunch break. A $15 lunch will be available on site.

Afternoon Presentations

1:30 - 2:15 pm
Dr. Melia DeVivo: Endemic CWD and Mule Deer Populations Decline in Wyoming

Dr. Melia DeVivo received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she studied the habitat use characteristics of parturient elk and survival of calves in northcentral PA. She graduated from the University of Wyoming receiving a Ph.D. in Veterinary Sciences, where she studied the population effects of chronic wasting disease of free ranging mule deer in southeastern Wyoming. Her research has focused on cervid ecology, demography, and disease. Dr. DeVivo is currently working on publications regarding her work on CWD and collaborating with local wildlife and habitat experts on a project for the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance identifying conservation targets for the Jackson Hole region.

2:15 - 3:00 pm
Nathan Galloway and Jenny Powers: Lessons Learned about CWD in Elk at Rocky Mountain and Wind Cave National Parks

Nathan Galloway joined the Wildlife Health Branch in 2015. He is trained as a microbiologist, a disease ecologist and a Bayesian modeler and attempts to use his diverse background to facilitate conversation between interested collaborators who often lack a common vocabulary. Nathan is concurrently finishing his PhD at Colorado State University on chronic wasting disease in free-ranging populations and is thrilled to have the opportunity with the NPS to contribute to knowledge about the dynamics and management of wildlife diseases. When not analyzing data and discussing the community ecology of wildlife disease, Nathan can be found riding his bike, hiking, and trying to pay attention to the worthwhile.

Jenny Powers joined the National Park Service Wildlife Health program in 2002 as a wildlife veterinarian. With a background in large animal medicine and reproductive physiology, Jenny works with parks on wildlife health issues ranging from capture and anesthesia projects to disease outbreak investigations. She has studied chronic wasting disease (CWD) related questions from both management and research perspectives since joining the NPS.  As the CWD coordinator for the NPS Jenny has assisted parks to learn about the epidemiology, ecology, and transmission of the disease as well as develop deer and elk management plans which accommodate CWD surveillance, disinfection, and disposal.  Jenny received her DVM from the University of California, Davis and her PhD from Colorado State University.  She enjoys working through "thorny" wildlife management problems with a variety of state, federal, university, and other conservation partners.

3:00 - 3:15 pm

3:15 - 4:00 pm
Dr. Tom Hobbs: Using Models and Data to Support Adaptive Management of the Jackson Elk Herd

Dr. Tom Hobbs has worked on population and community ecology of large mammals for the last three decades. Virtually all of his work uses models of ecological process to gain insight from data. He has particular expertise in building demographic models on populations, models that now widely used to support management and policy in North America and Europe. He has been on the faculty at Colorado State since 2001 and before that he worked for 20 years as a research scientist for Colorado Division of Wildlife. He has served as a rotating Program Director in the Population and Community Ecology Cluster of the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Ecological Applications. Princeton University Press recently published his book (co-authored with Mevin Hooten), Bayesian Modeling: a Statistical Primer for Ecologists. Tom has a degree in general biology from Grinnell College and an MS. and Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from Colorado State University.

4:00 - 4:45 pm
Dr. Chad Bishop: Role of Habitat Treatments and Related Mitigation Strategies to Offset Impacts of Altered Feedground Management

Chad Bishop is Director of the Wildlife Biology Program at University of Montana.  As Director, Chad is responsible for a wide array of functions tied to running the Program, with an emphasis on faculty and student support and Program outreach and development.  He received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology (Fish and Wildlife Management Option) from Montana State University (1995), a Master’s of Science degree in Wildlife Resources from University of Idaho (1998), and a Doctorate degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University (2007).  Prior to University of Montana, he spent nearly 16 years working for Colorado Division of Wildlife (now Colorado Parks and Wildlife), where he held positions as an ungulate researcher (1999-2009), Mammals Research Leader (2009-2012), and Assistant Director (2012-2015).  

4:45 - 6:30 pm: Social Hour; hors d'oeuvres and cash bar provided.

Evening Presentation

6:30 - 8:00 pm
Round Table Discussion, moderated by John Turner

Among his many accomplishments, John Turner served as the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1989-1993 and Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs from 2001 through 2005. Turner received a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of Notre Dame. A native of Moose, Wyoming, Turner is a third-generation rancher who, with his brothers, operates the Triangle X Ranch in Grand Teton National Park. 

    For further information on the CWD forum, please contact National Elk Refuge Manager Steve Kallin at or by phone at 307-201-5409.