EPA Settlements Restore Wetlands Across Southeast

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Over the past fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 has cited 23 entities throughout the Southeast for depositing dredged and/or fill material into wetlands or other waters of the United States in violation of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Such unauthorized discharges threaten water quality and damage habitats.

As part of the settlements, the responsible parties in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee will spend an estimated $1.7 million on restoration and monitoring activities. Seven entities were additionally assessed a total of $130,800 in civil penalties. The settlements and associated penalties, if applicable, include:

Florida

  • Florida Properties III, LLC, violations during construction of the Coconut Inlet development in Lee County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $137,200).
  • Dr. Cory Gaiser, violations during road and pond construction in Jackson County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $17,020).
  • Mr. James Johnson, violations during preparation property for commercial development in Collier County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $28,002).
  • Northwest Florida Holdings, Inc., violations during the dredging of a manmade basin and St. Andrew Bay in Bay County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $165,038).
  • Mr. Robert J. Chelico, violations during clearing and grading activities associated with construction of a residence in Escambia County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $15,300).
  • Peace River Properties Investment, LLC, violations during construction of a residential development, in Charlotte County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $28,496).

Georgia

  • Community Bank of Pickens County, violations during construction of a commercial development in Pickens County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $162,570).
  • Millrock Farms, Inc., violations during the construction of ponds, roads and other water retention features in Laurens County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $10,138).
  • Mr. Robert Lee, violations during construction of a borrow pit in Chatham County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $13,246).
  • Camden USA, Inc. and Camden Development, Inc., violations during construction of stormwater runoff structures at the Camden Paces development in Fulton County.
  • Ray Flow and Rick Wagner, violations during construction of access roads in Tattnall County (civil penalty of $1500).
  • Mr. Milton Blankinship, violations associated with ditching activities intended to drain wetlands on his property in Jackson County (civil penalty of $10,500).

Kentucky

  • Montgomery Group, LLC, violations during the construction of the Skylar Landing Commercial Development in Mercer County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $45,440).
  • Mr. Bill Brock, violations during the conversion of forested wetlands to agricultural use in Laurel County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $31,786).
  • Hardin County Developers, violations during construction of the Cowley Crossing Subdivision in Hardin County (civil penalty of $30,000).

Mississippi

  • Hancock County Land, LLC, violations during site preparation for a development in Hancock County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $881,555).
  • Mr. Horace Scott Slay, Sr., violations in Jackson County (civil penalty of $18,000 and estimated cost of injunctive relief of $11,800).
  • Jackson County Recreation Department, violations during site preparation for the construction of recreational and parking facilities in Jackson County (civil penalty of $27,350).

North Carolina

  • Southwood Developers, Inc., and CKC, LLC, violations during construction of the Windsor Park residential development in Brunswick County (civil penalty of $11,000 and estimated cost of injunctive relief of $43,069).

South Carolina

  • Mr. Lowell Landon, violations during construction of a residential development in Beaufort County.
  • Mr. William S. Livingston, III, violations during mechanized land clearing in preparation for forestry activities in Horry County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $109,338).
  • Bass Waccamaw River Ranch, LLC, violations during construction of roads and food plots in Horry County (civil penalty of $37,500).

Tennessee

  • Mr. Randall Stutts, violations during the construction of an earthen dam and impoundment of an unnamed tributary to the Harpeth River in Cheatham County (estimated cost of injunctive relief of $33,180).

Congress enacted the CWA in 1972 to protect the nation’s rivers, lakes and stream, as well as some of the more fragile and vital wetland habitats. Wetlands are recognized as important features in the landscape that serve to protect and improve water quality, provide fish and wildlife habitats, store floodwaters, and maintain surface water flow during dry periods. The CWA requires anyone engaged in construction within or disposal to waters of the United States to obtain permits when altering or filling waterways. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues permits to discharge dredged and/or fill material into waters of the U.S.

For more information about the CWA Section 404 wetland regulatory authorities, visit: http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/pdf/reg_authority_pr.pdf

For more information about wetlands protection in the Southeast, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region4/water/wetlands/index.html  


TWRA Leasing Fields For 2016 Dove Season

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is seeking fields to lease for the upcoming 2016 dove season. The first segment of dove season opens at noon on Thursday, Sept. 1. According to officials, mourning doves are a popular game bird and one of the most widely distributed and abundant birds in North America. More mourning doves are harvested than all other migratory bird species ... (click for more)

5th Permit For 2016 Elk Hunt To Be Auctioned On eBay, July 28-Aug.7

The fifth permit for participation in Tennessee’s eighth managed elk hunt will be awarded to the successful bidder in an eBay auction to be held from July 28-Aug 7. Proceeds from the auction benefit the state’s elk restoration program. Since the elk hunt was implemented in 2009, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has donated a permit to a Non-Governmental Organization ... (click for more)

Nashville Man Arrested By TBI For Trafficking 12-Year-Old Texas Girl For Sex

Special Agents in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Human Trafficking Unit, working alongside local and federal partners, have arrested and charged a Nashville man accused of trafficking a 12-year-old from Texas for the purposes of commercial sex. On Friday evening, the TBI received information from the U.S. Marshals Service about the possible whereabouts of a Texas ... (click for more)

Michael Ford Sentenced To More Than 13 Years In Prison On Drug Charges

Michael Shawn Ford has been sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison on drug charges. On April 20, 2105, Ford was arrested at his house in East Ridge. Police found him hiding in the closet with a laundry bag which contained a loaded pistol and 7.9 grams of crystal meth. Officers said that two backpacks were found in the same bedroom, one with 257.3 grams of crystal meth ... (click for more)

Olympic Events On The Ocoee River Made History – But It Wasn’t Easy

It started with a simple “what if” question while Atlanta officials were working on a bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.  A group of amateur kayakers from the city began asking themselves: “What if Atlanta’s bid is successful? Then where would the Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak races be held?”  To some of the members of that group, the answer was obvious. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Don’t Kick A Man’s Neck

From the minute my brothers and I each became cognizant, my dad started teaching us the rules of becoming a man. Dad was from deep in Mississippi and he’d been taught a lot of life’s secrets from his father. These lessons have been passed for generations and, the older I have become, I’m convinced a lot of them were borne from The Sermon on the Mount. Our favorite, back in the ... (click for more)