MONROE — Two companies dumped more than 54,000 cubic yards of debris into the Skykomish River over a three-year period, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Starting in 2008, Bobby Wolford Trucking & Salvage, Inc. delivered fill material to the Karl Frederick Klock Pacific Bison, LCC property three miles east of Monroe.
The trucking company used heavy equipment to dump enough material, including construction debris, to fill more than 16 Olympic-sized swimming pools into wetlands. They also dumped fill into the Skykomish River and a stream flowing through the Klock property without obtaining permits, according to a document called a federal consent decree. The company also charged others to dump materials in the same locations.
The illegal dumping impacted almost three acres of wetlands and over 2,000 linear feet of streams, Chris Hladick, EPA regional administrator, said in a news release.
“This affected the very structure and function of the Skykomish River floodplain and one of its tributaries,” Hladick said.
The Skykomish River is home to several threatened species, including Steelhead, Chum, Coho, Pink and Chinook salmon as well as Bull Trout.
Through a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the EPA, the trucking company will pay $300,000 in civil penalties and perform significant restoration work, including removing approximately 40,000 cubic yards of unauthorized fill from the oxbow of the Skykomish River and nearby wetlands. It will also pay to replant native vegetation.
The Tulalip Tribes will oversee the earth-moving and restoration work and replant 17 acres of the property, according to the EPA.
Under the settlement, the property owner — Karl Frederick Klock Pacific Bison, LLC — will transfer 188 acres of the property to the tribes. They will maintain the acreage in perpetual conservation.
“It’s gratifying that the case has been resolved in a way that provides such benefit to the environment,” Hladick said.