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PHILADELPHIA — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Frederick W. Hertrich, III and his project manager, Charles Ernesto, will jointly pay a $100,000 penalty for violating the Clean Water Act at a site in Federalsburg, Caroline County, Md., according to a press release.
The alleged violations at the 183-acre site occurred during the development of forested wetlands into pastureland for a horse farm that specializes in breeding racehorses.
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In creating the pastureland, the defendants impacted 56 acres of forested wetlands. The forested wetlands on the site are adjacent to the Houston Branch, a tributary of Marshyhope Creek in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, stated the release.
The defendants completed restoration of the impacted wetlands in 2011. Restoration included planting over 11,000 seedlings comprised of native species in order to re-vegetate the site, noted the release.
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Restoration also included filling in and re-vegetating the main drainage ditch excavated by the defendants. The ditch was approximately eight to 10 feet wide, three to five feet deep and 1,200 feet in length and intersected a tributary of Marshyhope Creek. By plugging the ditch, the site will be able to maintain the hydrology needed to ensure the success of the restoration activities.
“Wetlands play a powerful role in our environment. This case sends a clear message that regulatory agencies will take the steps necessary to secure compliance with wetlands regulations and remedy the harm caused by illegal activity,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “The wetlands involved in this case provided sediment and nutrient controls, which is especially important in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”
Read the entire press release here.