Department of Ecology News Release - September 1, 2017

$20,000 fine issued for failing to remove illegal bulkhead

Palmer Lake development threatens water quality, degrades the shoreline

An illegal hard rock bulkhead on Palmer Lake in Okanogan County can cause harm to natural shoreline functions.


A $20,000 penalty has been levied against Todd and Brenda Barrett of Graham, Wash., for failing to remove an unauthorized bulkhead and neglecting to restore the shoreline along property they own on Palmer Lake in Okanogan County.

The penalty issued by the Washington Department of Ecology follows numerous site visits and communications with the Barretts to rectify the situation. In August 2016, the Barretts were issued a notice of violation for building and backfilling the bulkhead without proper planning and precautions, or obtaining permits required to work in the water. The Barretts did not stop further construction below the ordinary high water mark or obtain the necessary permits to do so.

In December 2016, they were ordered to remove the angular rock and boulder retaining wall and restore the shoreline using soft techniques that protect from erosion and maintain and enhance the ecological functions of the shoreline.

Palmer Lake’s unique hydrology receives backflow water from the Similkameen River during high runoff, and provides natural flood control.

Todd and Brenda Barrett have 30 days to pay the penalty or file an appeal with the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board. Payment or appeal of the penalty does not waive the Barretts’ responsibility to comply with the administrative order issued by Ecology.

Contact information

Joye Redfield-Wilder
Communications manager