SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The landlord of a San Francisco Bay House island violated the federal Blank Water Act when he destroyed marshland through development a levee and dumping dredged subject material whilst development duck-hunting ponds, a federal pass judgement on dominated Wednesday.
The ruling is the newest in a years-long struggle between regulators and John Sweeney, who owns an island in Suisun Bay, a tidal channel and marsh space northeast of San Francisco.
Kimberly J. Mueller, leader pass judgement on for the U.S. District Courtroom for the Jap District of California, mentioned development the just about mile-long earthen levee ended in the lack of about 30 acres of tidal channels and marsh.
The ruling units the degree for extra felony wrangling.
Sweeney and the membership may just face attainable fines however Mueller mentioned any penalty award could be placed on hang till a call is made at the executive’s request that the court docket require recovery of the world. The pass judgement on didn’t instantly rule on that request.
Every other listening to is scheduled for October.
A remark from his legal professional provided through Sweeney mentioned that the pass judgement on discovered Sweeney’s industry, the Level Buckler Membership, LLC, “no longer liable for just about the entirety.”
Referring to recovery of the island, “John Sweeney has no cash, and he can not realistically do anything else the federal government desires,” the remark mentioned. “The case went to trial handiest for the reason that executive would no longer conform to any agreement that used to be inside the realm of risk.”
“The one manner recovery can also be completed is to permit John Sweeney to make some use of the island that may permit him to boost sufficient cash to pay for recovery. Another way the island will simply sit down there,” the remark mentioned.
Sweeney purchased Level Buckler Island in 2011 for approximately $150,00 to provide duck looking and kite-surfing. The island is a part of the Suisun Marsh, which is “the biggest contiguous brackish water marsh closing at the west coast of North The united states,” the pass judgement on’s ruling mentioned.
The island is inside essential habitat of the endangered Sacramento River Wintry weather-Run Chinook Salmon and the threatened Delta smelt, the ruling mentioned.
The brand new levee “blocked just about all get admission to through fish” to the island and ravaged the local plants, the court docket mentioned.
Sweeney knew that Solano County had zoned the world as marshland however starting in 2014, Sweeney dumped 1000’s of cubic yards of soil into the island’s tidal channels and marsh with out a allow, the ruling mentioned.