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Maine Construction Company Settles With EPA for Clean Water Violations

Release Date: 03/12/2008
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine (617) 918-1027

(Boston--March 12, 2008) A Maine construction company and its owner will pay a $16,017 civil fine, donate a conservation easement on a 17-acre property in Ellsworth, ME to preserve important bald eagle habitat and fund an invasive species control program at Acadia National Park in Maine, as part of a settlement of an enforcement action brought by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violations of the federal Clean Water Act

Robert Ray and Ray Builders, Inc. of Ellsworth owned and developed a 42-lot subdivision on Altons Avenue in Ellsworth between 1989 and 2003, without first obtaining a permit for filling of wetlands from the Army Corps of Engineers, as is required by the Clean Water Act. The construction of the roads and the development of these lots resulted in the discharge of dredged and fill material into approximately 3.8 acres of valuable forested wetlands adjacent to several streams flowing into Union River Bay, a tidal estuary.

“EPA’s goals in this case were to ensure that wetlands functions and values that were lost as a result of the illegal activities were compensated for, and to obtain an appropriate penalty,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. “Mr. Ray has worked cooperatively with EPA to achieve these goals by developing and funding an innovative settlement that includes two projects to restore and protect valuable environmental resources in the Ellsworth area.”

In addition to the $16,017 penalty, Mr. Ray has agreed to donate a conservation easement on a 17-acre parcel that he owns on Hillside Avenue in Ellsworth. This parcel had been sub-divided and set for development. It is a valuable mixed wetland/upland habitat, adjacent to the Woodlawn Museum and Black Estate. The property to be protected is located within nesting zone of two established bald eagle nests. As part of the settlement, Mr. Ray will donate and fund a conservation easement on this property in favor of Frenchman’s Bay Conservancy Inc. This action will permanently protect the property from development. The Frenchman Bay Conservancy is a local Hancock County organization with ties to the community.

Mr. Ray also has agreed to compensate for the wetland losses by funding a 3-year program of invasive species control at the 115-acre Great Meadow, one of the largest freshwater wetlands in Acadia National Park. Great Meadow is surrounded by stunning mountain views and open vistas and is home to many wetland wildlife species. The area is a very popular natural community used by park visitors for walking, nature photography and wildlife viewing. The ecological integrity of Great Meadow is threatened by several invasive species and the Park does not have the resources to remove them. As part of the settlement, Mr. Ray and Ray Builders, Inc. have provided $87,154 to remove invasive species from Great Meadow and restore it to ecological health. The National Park Service will implement the project in cooperation with the Friends of Acadia.