ANTIGO, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's office announced on Tuesday that a Langlade County property owner has agreed to remove a road that he built on a protected wetlands area.
James Draeger allegedly violated state wetland protection laws when he built the road in 2005. The court ordered him to pay $28,000 in forfeitures, assessments, fees and costs for building the road on property in the Town of Peck without proper water quality certification.
The Department of Natural Resources had asked for action to be taken against Draeger because he allegedly didn't alert them of his wetland project, and he allegedly never obtained the certification necessary to comply with the water standards of the state.
"The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin's wetlands are protected through compliance with the law," Van Hollen said.
The DNR alleges that, in addition to not meeting the water quality standards, the road did not qualify for a federal silvicultural exemption from permitting requirements.
The project also allegedly segmented a valuable wetland complex, which degraded water quality as well as the fish and wildlife habitat of the nearby Clearwater Creek and the West Branch of the Eau Claire River.
The DNR staff concluded that the road's removal would be the only way to preserve and protect the natural resources that the road had affected.