For More Information Contact:
Kelly Kennedy 608/266-7876
MADISON – Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager announced today that her office has filed four civil complaints against Eagle Spring Environmental, Ltd., a Waukesha County excavating company, and its owner and operator, Lee L. Cresca, for allegedly violating state environmental laws at four different sites in Racine, Sheboygan, Washington and Waukesha Counties between 2000 and 2004.
“Wisconsin requires that excavators adhere to our environmental laws when digging ponds for the protection and integrity of our natural environment and our clean water, and to promote the health and safety of our citizens,” Lautenschlager said. “We simply cannot allow the unnecessary destruction of valuable wetlands so often associated with illegal pond construction.”
In the Waukesha County case, the defendants are alleged to have unlawfully dredged parts of a natural pond on property owned by Richard and Nada Moeller near Eagle, Wisconsin, in the spring of 2002 in an effort to expand and deepen it, but the dredging allegedly damaged the pond’s ecological values. The defendants are also alleged to have unlawfully graded a large area on the banks of that pond which in turn caused eroding soil to enter the Scuppernong River, a trout stream. Lautenschlager noted that the Moellers have fully cooperated with the investigation of the case and in planning for the restoration of the pond, which has not yet occurred.
In the Racine County case Cresca and his company are charged with unlawfully excavating wetlands in late 2002 and early 2003 on property owned by Mark Huckstorf in the Town of Norway to construct an eighteen-foot deep pond where none had existed before. The complaint also alleges that other wetlands were damaged when Cresca disposed of excavated soils in other wetlands near the new artificial pond. The site has been fully restored, Lautenschlager said, with the cooperation of the property owner.
In the Washington County case Cresca and Eagle Spring are alleged to have unlawfully dredged hundreds of cubic yards of material from the bed of Wall Lake, offshore from properties owned by David and Joyce Gonring and Clarence and Margie Schmidt, in the fall of 2003. Although complete restoration of the lake bed was not feasible, Lautenschlager said the neighbors have cooperated in the proper handling of all the dredged materials.
Finally, in the Sheboygan County case Cresca, Eagle Spring and Zoryan Abramovich are alleged to have excavated wetlands on land owned or controlled by Cresca and Abramovich in the Town of Scott in order to expand an artificial pond on the site. The complaint alleges that this dredging occurred intermittently over a period of years, beginning in 2000 and continuing until August 2004, despite express requests from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to refrain from such activity. No restoration has been conducted at this site, Lautenschlager says, but the state will seek a court order requiring it if the parties do not reach an agreement on that subject.
In addition to seeking the restoration of the Waukesha County and Sheboygan County sites, the state will ask the courts to impose penalties for any violations of state water and wetland protection laws.
The Department of Justice brought the case at the request of the DNR. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Dosch is handling the matter for the state.