Iowa CWD Crisis Update
July 3, 2013
330 Acres Quarantined until December 2017; Litigation Scheduled for Late Summer
The American Cervid Alliance would like to offer an update regarding the ongoing CWD crisis in Iowa since last summer. Tom & Rhonda Brakke, owners of Pine Ridge Lodge, originally found a positive CWD buck in their hunting ranch in July 2012.
By January 31, 2013, all animals were depopulated and tested in compliance with the Iowa DNR Agreement. Also according the agreement, the decontamination procedures were followed and completed during the first week of April. Pine Ridge was responsible for expenses incurred from the testing, storage of carcasses in reefer, disposal, and decontamination. These procedures were directly ordered as suggested by Part B of the CWD Standards working document. Part of the decontamination process was the removal of 4 inches of top soil in areas of their farm and other requirements consistent with standards working document Version 22.
According to the Brakke’s, without any options provided to maintain breeder or preserve facility operations to generate income, the Brakke’s legal representatives contacted the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and Iowa DNR to discuss future options for the preserve property. Because there were no options provided by the state, the Brakke's canceled their hunting preserve license and 30 days later opened the gates planning to remove the fences. The Brakke’s stated their intentions to remove the fence were to generate income from the property. During that 30 day cancelation time period, they were not contacted by the Iowa DNR or IDALS.
On June 6, 2013, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) served an Emergency Order stating that the preserve is subject to quarantine and among other things, requiring the Brakke’s to close the gates and maintain the fence. The emergency order stated the Brakke’s eight foot fence must remain in place and maintained until December 28, 2017. The date is based off five years after the last positive was found.
The Brakke’s are involved in a contested case proceeding with the IDALS regarding their breed facility animals. In the proceeding with IDALS, the Brakke’s are seeking to set aside the quarantines issued by IDALS and if such quarantines are not set aside, they are seeking appropriate compensation from the state for the loss of their property. The contested case hearing with IDALS is set for August, 2013.
The Iowa DNR is requesting open access to the Brakke’s 330 acre property for a period of 4 weeks in order to destroy any wild cervids that have entered the property. The Brakke’s are challenging the DNR’s actions and request. In addition, the Brakke’s are seeking appropriate compensation from the state should the DNR’s action be upheld. Due to the Emergency Order, the Brakke’s expect at least a portion of the issues involving DNR will be heard by an administrative law judge tomorrow on July 3rd, and possibly a full hearing on the merits at a later date.