After a Clark County developer failed to follow through on his obligation to protect wetlands, the Washington Department of Ecology issued him a $17,000 penalty.
In 2005, Dennis Pavlina of Vancouver, Wash., and his now-defunct company Gold Medal Group began illegally grading and filling 37 acres of wetlands in the Salmon Creek watershed to build a business park known as Battle Ground Village.
Ecology issued an order to Pavlina in 2007 requiring him and his company to restore 32 acres of wetland, re-establish five acres of wetland, and acquire and preserve eight acres of forested wetland. The order also required Pavlina to record a conservation covenant to protect the mitigation properties.
Pavlina completed most of the work, but failed to provide a valid conservation covenant that permanently protects the mitigation.
Millions of dollars have been invested in the Salmon Creek basin by a variety of organizations to reduce stormwater erosion and runoff, restore buffer vegetation, and reduce pollution from entering local streams and the Columbia River. The loss of the 37 acres of wetlands on the development property further diminishes Salmon Creek basin’s natural ability to hold and filter pollutants from stormwater, reduce erosion, recharge groundwater, and provide healthy habitat for wildlife, birds, and fish.
“As construction booms across Clark County, the majority of developers follow local and state rules that protect watersheds,” says Gordon White, program manager for Ecology’s Shorelands and Environmental Assistance program. “Mr. Pavlina has had a more than reasonable timeframe to fulfill his obligation and legal requirements related to this business park.”
Pavlina has 30 days to pay the penalty or appeal it to the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board.