Comment period open on Montana brucellosis watch area expansion
Public comment on expanding the state’s Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) for brucellosis to include a 365-square mile chunk of land between Norris and Three Forks (see attached map) opened late last week. The Montana Board of Livestock at its last meeting approved putting the proposal out for review after learning that 10 of 60 elk in the corresponding elk hunting district (HD311) recently tested positive for exposure to brucellosis.
State veterinarian Dr. Marty Zaluski said brucellosis-positive elk were not previously known to exist in the area, which is home to about 50 cattle producers and 12,000 head of cattle.
Created in 2010 with extensive input from the livestock industry and USDA-APHIS, the four-county (Beaverhead, Gallatin, Madison and Park) DSA is designed to prevent the spread of brucellosis and protect the marketability of Montana cattle. Cattle within the DSA are subject to additional testing, vaccination and identification requirements.
If approved, the boundary adjustment would be the third since the DSA was implemented in January 2010. Other adjustments occurred when brucellosis-positive elk where found in 2011 and 2012 on the western edge of the DSA in Beaverhead County. The department will host a public meeting at 10 a.m. on July 2 at Headwaters Livestock Auction in Three Forks to discuss the proposal. Public comment will be accepted at the meeting, or can be submitted via email at MDOLcomments@mt.gov or via US postal mail at Christian Mackay, 301 N. Roberts St., Room 308, P.O. Box 202001, Helena, MT 59620-2001.
The public comment period closes July 12.
–Montana Department of Livestock