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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today announced that the Wisconsin Department of Justice has settled a case against a Minnesota couple who unlawfully filled portions of a lakebed in Washburn County.
Wisconsin law prohibits the placement of fill material on the bed of a navigable water without a permit from Department of Natural Resources. According to the civil complaint filed by the Department of Justice last November, Robert and Sheila Bergren of Lakeville, Minnesota, who own a second home on Big Ripley Lake, filled more than 1,900 square feet of wetlands on the bed of the lake in May of 2005, in violation of state law. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the Bergrens, who removed the illegal fill after the complaint was filed, will pay penalties of $7,500 for the violations.
The settlement was approved by Washburn County Circuit Judge Eugene Harrington.
"The law is clear. Those wishing to fill lakebeds and wetlands must seek a permit from the Department of Natural Resources," Van Hollen said. "This process ensures the state's waters are protected, for the benefit of Wisconsin citizens and the environment. The Department of Justice will continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources to vigorously prosecute violations of the law."
Assistant Attorney General Shari Eggleson represented the State.