“Landowners who plan to work in wetlands must obtain the proper permits before they begin,” said EPA’s Szerlog. “Coastal wetlands are fragile ecosystems and unpermitted construction can be very damaging to them.”

Wetlands help maintain water quality characteristics like water temperature, which directly affect fish spawning and rearing. Waters from these dune wetlands drain into the Pacific Ocean.

EPA has ordered Burgess and Kilcup to remove all unauthorized fill material from the dune wetlands by April 2011. The Clean Water Act authorizes civil penalties of up to $37,500 per day of violation and administrative penalties of up to $16,000 per day for each violation up to a maximum administrative penalty of $177,500.

For more information about the Clean Water Act Section 404 wetland regulatory authority, visit: http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/pdf/reg_authority_pr.pdf

For more information about Wetlands protection work, visit: