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NatureWater

Idaho Landowner Ordered to Restore Wetlands and Streams on Lamb Creek

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Most of us think that we can do pretty much whatever we want with our property. If we own land, we can build a house, right? Well, that’s what Jack Barron of Bonner County, Idaho thought, too. However, the EPA says otherwise.

An order issued by the EPA alleges that Barron placed rock and other fill material into four acres of wetlands and stream channels on his property near Lamb Creek. He filled the wetlands in preparation to build a house. However, the EPA claims that Barron did so without necessary permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The EPA order states that Barron must remove fill material and restore wetlands and stream channels on his property near Nordman, Idaho. The land he filled is part of a tributary of Priest Lake, which supports many recreational activities including boating, fishing and camping and has been identified by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality as “impaired” because of high water temperatures and sediment. Wetlands help regulate water temperature, which is essential for protecting fish and other aquatic animals.

“Idaho has fewer wetlands than most other states—so it’s up to property owners here to do what they can to safeguard what’s left,” said Jim Werntz, Director of EPA’s Idaho Operations Office. “Getting the proper permitting is the first step to ensuring that Idaho’s wetlands and wildlife don’t face unnecessary risk.” The EPA’s order is a measure taken to ensure that water quality in Idaho doesn’t go downhill.

Barron must submit a restoration plan to EPA by August 17, 2009 and complete restoration work by November 1, 2009.

Photo Credit: nebarnix via flickr under Creative Commons License




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