Department of Ecology News Release - March 27, 2018

Property owner fined for illegal construction work in Wenatchee River

Landowner ordered to restore damage to floodplain and shoreline

View of illegal construction activities on private property located along Wenatchee River in Chelan County.


Jeffrey L. Kinzel of Dryden, Wash., has been fined $100,500 for illegally placing fill dirt in the Wenatchee River and removing vegetation along the shoreline. By disrupting how the river would flow naturally, his actions threaten nearby private properties and public roads, bridges and other structures while hampering downstream salmon recovery efforts.

The Washington State Department of Ecology levied the penalty against Kinzel for illegal construction in the river channel without getting all necessary plans, permits or authorizations. During the last decade, Kinzel has faced fines and restoration orders for past illegal construction activities in the river.

Along with the civil penalty, Kinzel has been ordered to obtain all necessary permits and remove the illegal development, including the fill placed in the river and along the shoreline. He must also replant vegetation to re-establish the river buffer along his shoreline property. The order and penalty follow a notice of correction issued in January 2018.

Fully functioning shorelines and associated floodplains provide a place for rivers and streams to safely fluctuate, protecting properties downstream. They also are places where fresh organic material and organisms can settle, creating rich habitat and feeding areas for threatened salmon and other resident fish species.

Chelan County has worked closely with Ecology and other state agencies to adopt local policies and regulations that protect people, their homes and structures, and the shoreline environment. For instance, the county has a comprehensive plan for managing local flood hazards in the county.

Since 2005, Chelan County has removed 10 fish migration barriers and created seven new fish and wildlife habitat areas on the Wenatchee River. Recently, Chelan County approved a new set of regulations to manage development along and protect its lake, stream and river shorelines.

Kinzel has 30 days to file an appeal with the state’s Shoreline Hearings Board.

Contact information

Curt Hart
360-407-6944 or 360-701-1220
Twitter: ecologywa