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United States v. Lee Wood Contracting, Inc.

Citation: 12 ELR 20421
No. No. 80-10045, 529 F. Supp. 119/17 ERC 1743/(E.D. Mich., 11/05/1981)

The district court rules that defendants discharged fill material into a wetland adjacent to a navigable waterway without an Army Corps of Engineers permit in violation of § 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. A magistrate had dismissed the case after finding that the filled area, although a wetland, was not contiguous to navigable waters of the United States. The court rules that the wetland area is "neighboring" to the Quanicassee River and therefore subject to the regulatory jurisdiction of the Corps. The wetland area is in close proximity to Lake Huron, a navigable water of the United States, and its tributary, the Quanicassee River; there is a direct water connection between the Terry Drain, which flows along the edge of defendants' property, and the river. Therefore, the wetland area is contiguous to the Quanicassee River, regardless of the fact that a parcel of land lies between the wetland and the river. The court enjoins defendants from further fill activities without first obtaining a Corps permit. In addition, it imposes a civil penalty of $1,000 on defendants.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Peter C. Jensen, Geneva Halliday, Ass't U.S. Attorneys
P.O. Box 1027, Detroit MI 48231
(313) 226-7715

Counsel for Defendants
James S. Wood
203 Shearer Bldg., Bay City MI 48707
(517) 894-2481