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State Settles Environmental Lawsuit Against Waukesha County Golf Facility

 

WAUKESHA – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today announced that his office has settled a civil environmental prosecution which had been brought against Edgewood Golf Course, Inc., and its owner, Fred Millies, for their alleged violations of wetland and waterway protection laws in the course of various golf course construction projects. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had asked the Wisconsin Department of Justice to prosecute the company and its owner for violating state laws which prohibit filling wetlands, dredging ponds, or placing material into waterways without DNR-issued permits. The defendants have operated a golf course near Big Bend, in Waukesha County, for more than 40 years. Portions of the course lie along the Fox River and it includes a substantial amount of wetlands and numerous ponds.

 

The lawsuit charges the defendants with:

 

  • Grading on the banks of a waterway without a DNR permit required by state statute;
  • Dredging ponds without a DNR permit required by state statute;
  • Unlawfully depositing dredged and graded soils on wetlands or into the Fox River; and
  • Failure to plan and implement erosion control best management practices in the course of their land-disturbing construction activity.

 

To their credit, Van Hollen said, the defendants promptly took steps, after the violations were discovered by a DNR warden, to remove all illegal fill from wetland areas. Now, under the terms of a settlement agreement which has now been approved by Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis, the defendants will also:

 

  • By September 15, 2011, implement a Remediation Plan they developed earlier this summer to stabilize the North, South, and East pond banks and create a vegetated buffer along the Fox River;
  • By the end of 2011, pay permit fees for and obtain after-the-fact permits for previous work they have done on several of the golf course ponds;
  • By September 15, 2011, they will develop and implement an integrated management plan (including an updated turf nutrient management plan) for the areas of the golf course within the Fox River floodplain;
  • By September 15, 2011, they will install and permanently maintain signs along the buffer areas to educate golfers and the public about the environmental importance of buffers and the need to stay out of buffer areas; and
  • Pay a total of $50,000 in penalties, attorney fees and costs for the violations;

 

"The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with DNR to ensure that the law is followed," said Van Hollen.

Recently retired Assistant Attorney General Thomas Dosch handled the prosecution.