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Property Owner and Contractor Ordered to Restore Filled Wetland

Release Date: 07/28/2008
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine (617) 918_1027

(Boston-July 28, 2008) The owner of a 590-acre parcel of land located off of Lane Road in Barre, Massachusetts and his contractor have been ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to restore 2 acres of wetlands which they dredged and filled without a permit in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

The owner of the property, Joseph Duhamel, and his contractor, John Amidio, illegally discharged dredged and filled materials into the wetlands at the site in 2004. Approximately 2 acres of wetlands were cleared, grubbed, excavated, and sand and gravel was removed, for the purposes of extracting sand and gravel material for Mr. Amidio's use, and the creation of a private pond for Mr. Duhamel's use.
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Under the order, Mr. Duhamel and Mr. Amidio will be required to restore an area of altered wet meadow/shrub wetlands, and to restore another portion of the altered area to a terraced pond with surrounding wet meadow and shrub wetlands. These actions will help to restore the wetland functions that were previously served by the wetlands before they were altered.

The 2 acres of wetlands that were filled and altered by Mr. Duhamel and Mr. Amidio 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."

Wetlands also provide large volumes of food that attract many animal species. These animals use wetlands for part of or all of their life-cycle. Dead plant leaves and stems break down in the water to form organic material which feeds many small aquatic insects and small fish that are food for larger predatory fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals.

EPA coordinated with the Corps of Engineers, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the Barre, Massachusetts Conservation Commission to resolve this case. Mr. Duhamel and Mr. Amidio have both been cooperative in agreeing to conduct the restoration.

More information:
Enforcing wetlands requirements in New England (http://epa.gov/ne/enforcement/wetlands/index.html)