Environmental Protection

Owner, Contractor to Restore Filled Wetlands

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered the owner of a 590-acre parcel of land located off of Lane Road in Barre, Mass., and his contractor to restore 2 acres of wetlands they dredged and filled without a permit, according to a July 28 press release.

The owner of the property, Joseph Duhamel, and his contractor, John Amidio, illegally discharged dredged and filled materials into the wetlands in 2004. Approximately 2 acres of wetlands were cleared, grubbed, excavated, and sand and gravel were removed, for the purposes of extracting sand and gravel material for Amidio's use, and the creation of a private pond for Duhamel's use.

Under the order, both parties must restore an area of altered wet meadow/shrub wetlands and restore another portion of the altered area to a terraced pond with surrounding wet meadow and shrub wetlands. The parties have agreed to comply.

The 2 acres were part of a larger wetland complex that provided flood storage, wildlife habitat, nutrient removal and transport, and sediment trapping functions.

"Protecting wetlands and waters is a critical piece of protecting New England's ecosystems," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "Wetlands can act as a natural sponge to store waters during flood events, such as the ones experienced this summer in New England, and help to prevent pollutants from reaching our waterways."

EPA coordinated with the Corps of Engineers, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the Barre, Massachusetts Conservation Commission to resolve this case.

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