EPA orders Rohrer Partnership to restore Powell County wetlands
Region 8 has issued an administrative order to Douglas and Ken Rohrer and the Rohrer Family Limited Partnership requiring them to correct the environmental damage they caused to approximately six acres of wetlands adjacent to Cottonwood Creek and Douglas Creek in Powell County, Mont.
EPA will require the Rohrers to fully restore the wetlands that they damaged.
“EPA is taking this action to protect the environment and to send the message that compliance with the intent and requirements of the Clean Water Act is mandatory,” said Mike Risner, EPA Region 8 Acting Assistant Regional Administrator.
The wetland destruction occurred during autumn 2006 when the Rohrers constructed two major drainage ditches and three lateral ditches totaling approximately 7,800 feet in length. Excavated material was discharged along the length of the ditches, filling approximately six acres of wetlands and indirectly impacting an unknown number of wetland acres by draining them. These destructive actions could have been avoided if the Rohrers had consulted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before commencing their activities.
These wetlands serve as aquatic and wildlife habitat and play an important role in water quality improvement, water storage and retention and flood control. Damaging or destroying wetlands can lead to serious results such as increased flooding, a decline of water quality and extinction of species.
Cottonwood Creek and Douglas Creek are each perennial streams that are tributary to Nevada Creek, which is tributary to the Blackfoot River, which flows into the Clark Fork River, a navigable, interstate waterway.
A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit is required before performing any work that results in discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, which include lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. Property owners, contractors or developers planning to do work in such waters need to contact the Corps of Engineers’ regulatory office in Helena, Mont., at 406-441-1375 before they begin work to determine if they need a permit.
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