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MADISON Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice has settled a lawsuit against Pine Ridge of Wautoma, LLC and Mathew P. Brown, LLC for violations of state environmental protection laws.
According to the complaint filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources, Pine Ridge of Wautoma, LLC (Pine Ridge) hired contractor Jody Henke to dredge a glacial pothole lake and place dredged spoils in wetlands on property owned by Mathew P. Brown, LLC, without first obtaining proper permits. Pine Ridge stopped work on the project when approached by the Department of Natural Resources. It removed the fill from the wetland, and repaired the lakebed. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Pine Ridge has agreed to pay penalties and assessments totaling $16,340 for the violations. It has also committed to finish restoring the disturbed area and to monitor that area in order to ensure that invasive or non-native species do not become established. Litigation against Henke will proceed.
"The law is clear. Those wishing to place fill in wetlands or dredge lakes must first seek and obtain a permit from the DNR," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "This process ensures the state's waters are protected, for the benefit of Wisconsin citizens and the environment. Un-permitted activities can seriously harm aquatic life and the quality of our waterways and wetlands. The Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure compliance with the law."
Assistant Attorney General Diane Milligan represented the State. The settlement was approved by Waushara County Circuit Court Judge Guy D. Dutcher.