Feb 26, 2021

Iowa Man Fined for Wetlands Destruction Along Des Moines River

Kirk agreed to pay a $15,000 penalty and buy nearly $230,000 in mitigation bank credits at a local wetland preserve. 

des moines

An Iowa man, Russell Kirk, has been fined for violating federal clean water laws after filling wetlands along the Des Moines River.

These actions were taken to build a recreational vehicle campground, according to the U.S. EPA press release.

Russell Kirk and his companies, Ottumwa Northshore LLC and Breaking Gate LLC, filled in approximately 5 acres of protected wetlands and conducted unauthorized bank stabilization along about 2,000 feet of the Des Moines River without obtaining a required federal permit, said the U.S. EPA. 

The violation was done between 2013 and 2016 and the U.S. Justice Department filed a civil complaint in 2018 in Southern District in Iowa after Kirk failed to repair illegal discharges of dredged and filled materials at the campground, reported the EPA.

Kirk has reached an agreement with federal officials for violating federal clean water laws, said the EPA in its press release. 

“The Clean Water Act seeks to protect the nation’s water resources,” said David Cozad, director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division in the press release. “Placing unauthorized fill material into rivers and wetlands can degrade watershed health, create loss of wildlife habitat, and deprive downstream landowners and the public from the use and enjoyment of public waters.”

Kirk and his companies agreed to pay a $15,000 penalty and purchase nearly $230,000 in mitigation bank credits at a local wetland preserve as part of the settlement. Unauthorized materials in wetlands and along the impacted riverbank will be moved as well to protect approximately 17 acres of regulated wetlands from future development on the defendants’ property, added the EPA.

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