Judge Orders Measures to Mend Damaged Wetlands
As a result of an SELC court victory in 2009, a federal judge has ordered measures to repair wetlands that were severely damaged when a company built an illegal road along the Ogeechee River in Georgia. The company must make alterations to the road to restore water flows, and it must take steps to keep soil erosion and polluted runoff in check. Under a separate agreement, the company will also preserve a 40-acre tract it owns elsewhere in the Ogeechee watershed that contains mature bottomland hardwood wetlands. This outcome stems from a lawsuit SELC filed on behalf of the Ogeechee Riverkeeper against the timber harvesting firm, which had claimed the road was for tree farming purposes and thus exempt from Clean Water Act requirements. In fact, the company had neither planted nor harvested trees on the property, which was sold as a home and recreation site.