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Columbia County Property Owner Ordered to Pay $30,675 for Violations of State Wetland Protection Laws


MADISON - John M. Hamilton has been ordered to pay $30,675.20 in forfeitures, assessments and costs for violations of state wetland protection laws at his property in the town of Wyocena in Columbia County. 


Wisconsin law prohibits the discharge of material into a wetland without a water quality certification that the discharge complies with state standards designed to protect the state's wetland resources.  In February 2009, the State filed a lawsuit charging Hamilton with arranging for a contractor to place fill material in a wetland on his property in the Town of Wyocena without obtaining a water quality certification.  According to the complaint, Hamilton arranged for spoil material from the dredging of a pond, along with sand, construction debris and rock materials, to be placed in almost one acre of wetland on Hamilton's property in spring 2006.  Hamilton had received a letter from the Department of Natural Resources in October 2005 advising him that no permit was required to dredge the manmade pond, "conditioned on the fact that no spoil material is temporarily or permanently stored in a wetland."


Hamilton has since refused to remove the fill material from the wetland.  In addition to the judgment for forfeitures, the court has ordered Hamilton to remove the fill material from the wetland by June 1, 2010.  The contractor resolved the State's charges in a settlement filed in January 2010.


"Wisconsin law requires that property owners and contractors obtain approval for activities in wetlands to ensure that those activities are consistent with state water quality standards," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said.  "The Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin's natural resources are protected through compliance with the law."


Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case.  Columbia County Circuit Court Judge Alan J. White signed the order for judgment on March 26, 2010.