Environmental damage lands Wis. golf facility in the rough

By Bryan Cohen | Jul 7, 2011

Van Hollen

WAUKESHA, Wis. (Legal Newsline) -- Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced on Thursday that his office has settled a civil environmental prosecution against a Waukesha County golf facility and its owner.

Fred Millies and Edgewood Golf Course Inc. allegedly violated wetland and waterway protection laws during various golf course construction projects. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources asked for the prosecution of the company and its owners for alleged violations of state laws that prohibit dredging ponds, filling wetlands or placing material into waterways without DNR-issued permits.

The defendants have operated a golf course near Big Bend in Waukesha County, for more than 40 years. Parts of the course lie along the Fox River, which includes a substantial amount of wetlands and numerous ponds.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants dredged ponds without a DNR permit required by state statute, graded on the banks of a waterway without a DNR permit required by state statute, failed to plan and implement erosion control best management practices in the course of their land-disturbing construction activity, and unlawfully deposited dredged and graded soils on wetlands or into the Fox River.

The defendants promptly took steps to remove all illegal fill from wetland areas after the violations were discovered.

Under the terms of a settlement agreement, the defendants will also implement a remediation plan they developed earlier this summer to stabilize the north, south and east pond banks and create a vegetated buffer along the Fox River by Sept. 15.

The will also pay permit fees for and obtain after-the-fact permits for previous work they have done on several of the golf course ponds by the end of 2011, develop and implement an integrated management plan that includes an updated turf nutrient management plan for the areas of the golf course within the Fox River floodplain by Sept. 15, install and permanently maintain signs along the buffer areas that will educate golfers and the public about the environmental importance of buffers and the need to stay out of buffer areas by Sept. 15, and pay a total of $50,000 in penalties, attorney fees and costs for the violations.

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