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Wood County Homeowners Agree to Restore Wetlands and Pay Penalties for Digging Illegal Ponds in Wetlands

 

WISCONSIN RAPIDS - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today announced that his office has resolved a civil environmental prosecution it brought against Daniel E. Wald and Jane M. McDonald.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had asked the Wisconsin Department of Justice to prosecute Wald and McDonald for violating state wetland protection laws in the course of their construction of two ponds on a fifteen-acre parcel of rural land where they live outside Pittsville, in Wood County, Wisconsin, most of which consists of wetlands.  The violations in the case were:

 

  • That in 2007, Wald and McDonald excavated several wetland areas on the property to construct two artificial ponds with a total area of approximately .89 acres; and

 

  • That they dumped the soils they had excavated from the ponds onto three or four more acres of wetlands to create dry land along the shores of the new ponds.

 

In Wisconsin, Van Hollen said, it is illegal to dig in or dump soils onto wetlands without first obtaining authorization for such activities from the DNR in the form of a certification that the proposed activity will comply with state water quality standards for wetlands.  Wald and McDonald did not apply for or receive such authorization, he said.   

 

To their credit, Van Hollen said, Wald and McDonald have agreed to restore the wetlands in the manner contemplated by a professionally developed, DNR-approved, wetland restoration plan which was prepared at their expense.  They have also agreed to pay the State of Wisconsin penalties and costs totaling $15,000. 

 

"The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with DNR to ensure that wetland protection laws are followed," said Van Hollen.   

 

Assistant Attorney General Thomas L. Dosch represented the State.