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Iowa man fined for wetlands destruction on Des Moines River

Iowa man fined for wetlands destruction on Des Moines River

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OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man who filled in wetlands along the Des Moines River in order to build a recreational vehicle campground has reached an agreement with federal officials for violating federal clean water laws, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.

Russell Kirk and his companies, Ottumwa Northshore LLC and Breaking Gate LLC, filled in about 5 acres of protected wetlands and conducted unauthorized bank stabilization along about 2,000 feet of the Des Moines River near Ottumwa without first obtaining a required federal permit, the EPA said.

The work was done between 2013 and 2016. The U.S. Justice Department filed a civil complaint in 2018 after Kirk refused to repair illegal discharges of dredged and fill materials at the campground.

As part of the settlement, Kirk and his companies agreed to pay a $15,000 penalty and purchase nearly $230,000 in “mitigation bank” credits at a local wetland preserve. They also agreed to remove unauthorized materials in wetlands and along the impacted riverbank, and to conserve and protect about 17 acres of regulated wetlands from future development on the defendants’ property.

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