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U.S. EPA Declares Habitat Restoration Along Headwaters of Salmon River "Nearly Complete"

Release Date: 6/19/2003
Contact Information: Karla Fromm
(208) 378-5755

June 19, 2003

Restoration of approximately 7 acres of wetland floodplain in Stanley, Idaho, is close to being finished, say officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Boise. The project, encompassing prime spawning & rearing habitat for endangered chinook salmon and bull trout, was initiated to settle a federal wetlands complaint, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on EPA = s behalf against the property owner, John Simpson.

According to the EPA complaint, filed in 2001, a contractor working for Mr. Simpson - owner of vacation home adjacent to headwaters of Salmon River - performed the following activities without obtaining proper and necessary permits:
  • Discharged material in wetlands while excavating an artificial channel through wetlands adjacent to the Salmon River without a CWA permit.
  • Placed fill material in wetlands to construct a road in wetlands.
  • Placed fill material in an existing, natural side channel of the Salmon River to divert some of the river's flow into the newly excavated channel.
Following discovery of this unauthorized work by the U.S. Forest Service in 1997, the U.S. Army Corps.of Engineers tried unsuccessfully for more than two years to work with Mr. Simpson to restore the area, coordinating their efforts with the U.S. Forest Service, the Idaho Dept. of Fish & Game and the Idaho Dept. of Water Resources. The Corps finally referred the case to the EPA in 2000.

In assessing the damage caused by these actions, the EPA inspectors consulted with officials of both the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and the Idaho Department of Water Resources. Initial EPA consultations with Mr. Simpson again proved fruitless so the case was referred to the U.S. Department of Justice. At the conclusion of negotiations, Mr. Simpson agreed to settle with the U.S. by:
  • paying a penalty of $23,750 within 30 days of the settlement date
  • restoring the affected area by blocking-off the newly constructed channel, restoring the old channel and replacing damaged and destroyed vegetation within a 0.4 acre area
  • performing a Supplementary Environmental Project (SEP), worth at least $143,000, to improve local fish habitat and enhance wetlands along the Salmon river.
A Consent Decree between Mr. Simpson and the Department of Justice was signed and entered in district court on July 9, 2002, settling the case.
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