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Brown County Property Owner Ordered to Restore Wetland Areas and Pay $50,000 in Penalties


SUAMICO – Brown County resident Kent Davis has been ordered to restore wetland areas on commercial property in the Village of Suamico, and to pay $50,000 in forfeitures, assessments, fees and costs for violating state wetland protection and storm water management laws for construction sites.


In this case, prosecuted at the request of the Department of Natural Resources, Davis began construction of the commercial development located at 2300 East Deerfield Road. In 2001 and again in 2007-2008 Davis illegally discharged fill material in wetlands on the site, and in 2009 he violated terms of a permit regulating storm water discharges from construction activity on the site.


Certain wetlands in Wisconsin are jointly regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Wisconsin DNR. Activities within these wetlands require both a federal permit and a certification from DNR that the activities comply with state water quality standards. Only a DNR water quality certification is required for activities in isolated, or non-federal, wetlands in Wisconsin.


According to the complaint filed by the Department of Justice, Davis filled over 2 acres of isolated wetlands in 2001 without state water quality certification. The State filed a complaint against Davis in 2006, along with a stipulation and order for judgment resolving the violation. The 2006 stipulation and order allowed Davis to keep a portion of the fill in some of the isolated wetlands and to preserve other wetland and upland areas on the property as undisturbed conservancy. Davis was required to obtain all state and federal permits regarding development in areas outside of the wetland conservancy area.


Then between December 2006 and April 2008, Davis began construction activities on the site affecting over 5 acres in 2 wetland areas that are subject to both state and federal regulation without having first obtained either a federal permit or a state water quality certification.


In 2009, Davis failed to implement best management practices required by the construction site storm water management permit, including failure to control dust while dumping approximately 400 truckloads of soil to the property, failure to maintain tracking pads to prevent vehicles from tracking sediment from the construction site, and failure to maintain silt fencing for erosion control.


Davis has agreed to pay $50,000 in forfeitures, statutory assessments, costs and fees for violations of the wetland protection and storm water management laws stated in the complaint. In addition, Davis will undertake restoration work in the affected wetland areas and purchase 4.1 wetland credits in mitigation to offset the unauthorized impacts to the wetland areas that cannot be adequately restored.


"The stipulation and order filed in this case show how the State and property owners can work together to resolve enforcement actions in a way that protects and benefits Wisconsin's wetlands and water resources," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin's wetlands are preserved through compliance with the law."


Brown County Circuit Court Judge J.D. McKay signed the order for judgment on June 21, 2011. Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case for the State.