Southern Maine Resort Owners Agree to Restore and Preserve Wetlands to Resolve Clean Water Act Violations
David Deegan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice have reached an agreement with FKT Resort Management LLC, FKT Bayley Family Limited Partnership, Bayley's Camping Resort Inc., Bayley Hill Deer and Trout Farm Inc., and related individuals, resolving violations of the federal Clean Water Act related to wetlands.
EPA alleged that the Bayley entities violated Section 404 of the Clean Water Act by filling wetlands and other waterways on property they own and/or operate in Scarborough and Old Orchard Beach, Maine. The violations allegedly started in the late 1980s and continued through the mid-2010s.
Under terms of the settlement, the Bayleys will establish through restoration and mitigation at least 64.5 acres of freshwater wetlands, restore site hydrology, and permanently protect all restored and mitigated wetlands, as well as associated riparian, upland, and open water habit through enforceable conservation easements. The entities will also pay a civil penalty of $227,500. The companies worked cooperatively with the United States to resolve the violations.
Natural wetlands are vital to protecting the integrity of our rivers and estuaries, and help to protect the health and safety of people and their communities by providing a natural filtration system for pollution before it gets into our rivers, lakes and ponds, and by preventing flooding after storms. Wetlands also provide valuable wildlife habitat, offering breeding and feeding grounds for a broad array of fish, birds and other wildlife. Converting large areas of natural wetlands to other uses can profoundly alter flood flows, undermine the pollutant-filtering abilities of wetlands, and reduce important habitat.
"Wetlands are incredibly valuable ecological areas that provide important functions including protecting and improving water quality, and helping to buffer floods and major storm events," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Each acre of destroyed or lost wetlands means our communities are losing critical resources that feed the rivers, lakes and streams we depend on to provide sources of food, transportation, and recreational opportunities."
The settlement requires wetland restoration, mitigation and preservation that will restore valuable wetland functions and result in improvements to downstream water quality, improve wetlands habitats, reduce the drainage of water from adjacent wetlands, and help protect downstream areas from flooding. The Complaint and Consent Decree were filed in the US District Court for the District of Maine, in Portland, on Sept. 28, 2016.
- The settlement agreement is subject to a thirty day public comment period and court approval. A copy of the Consent Decree will be available on DOJ's website. (www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees)
- Protecting wetlands and CWA Section 404 (www.epa.gov/cwa-404/section-404-permit-program)