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Kenai man, EPA agree on restoration plan for creek

Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Beaver Loop Road property owner who altered a section of Boat Launch Creek in Kenai in 2006 violating the Clean Water Act has agreed to a plan to restore the salmon-rearing stream and nearby wetland, the Environmental Protection Agency announced this week.

Daniel Krogseng used heavy equipment to push excavated fill material into wetlands in order to divert Boat Launch Creek to the northwestern boundary of his property, EPA said. He did so without a Clean Water Act permit.

EPA learned of the diversion from watershed monitors surveying local salmon streams.

The EPA issued Krogseng an administrative order to resolve the CWA violation. Krogseng and the agency agreed on a restoration and mitigation work plan that will include restoring in-stream juvenile salmon habitat; restoring wetland hydrology and functions; eliminating erosion from the ditch to Boat Launch Creek; filing the excavated ditch in the northwestern boundary of the site; returning stream flow to the original channel of the creek and stabilizing the creek channel where it meets the ditch.

Attempts to reach Krogseng by phone Wednesday were not successful.

Steve Roy, with the EPA’s office in Seattle, said Krogseng had diverted about 800 feet of the creek around the perimeter of his property. Roy said he believes Krogseng’s violation was “an innocent mistake.”

“But that’s not how the law works,” Roy said. “He will plug the ditch he diverted and put the creek back into its original channel and repair the wetlands he impacted.”

Krogseng could face a fine, but Roy said standard procedure is to see how the restoration works before determining if any fine is warranted.

Phil North, of the EPA’s Kenai office, said Krogseng immediately agreed to cooperate in restoration efforts upon learning of the violation. He also said EPA normally doesn’t assess fines in these kinds of cases where restoration is done quickly. He said Krogseng had until the end of June to perform the work, adding that the original channel still exists and that once water is flowing again, it should return to its previous state.

In a press release Monday, Marcia Combs, director of EPA’s Alaska operations, said the case demonstrated the importance of securing the proper permits before working in wetlands, and coincided with the 17th anniversary of American Wetlands Month.

“The month of May is a special opportunity for EPA and our partners in the federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit and private sectors to emphasize wetlands and their role in the ecosystem. Wetlands protection is essential, since they are vital to our nation’s ecological, economic and social health,” Combes said.

Hal Spence can be reached at hspence@ptialaska.net.



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