Vermont Business MagazineAgency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), today announced that Vorsteveld Farm, LLC, has agreed to pay a Fine and perform corrective actions and remedial actions for illegal activities associated with its Large Farm Operation, Panton, Vermont.
The farm removed vegetation and performed dredging in May 2016 and June 2017. It also placed fill in a wetlands system associated with Dead Creek. This eventually affected approximately 7.1 acres worth of Class II wetlands. Class II wetlands serve important functions such as habitat or water quality protection. The Agency discovered evidence in March 2020 that the Farm had allowed agricultural waste, such as manure, to run off the farmstead into a tributary to the Dead Creek.
Vermont’s streams, wetlands and other natural resources provide valuable services for the public and the environment, including water storage during floods, water quality protection, habitats for fish, wildlife, plant species, recreation, and water quality. These important habitats and services can be damaged if unpermitted activities are done near streams or wetlands. To manage and minimize this risk, state regulations exist.
Vermont’s farmers play an important role in the state’s landscapes and local food systems. Peter Walke, DEC Commissioner, states that the state supports the agricultural community in their efforts to prevent pollution from farms entering our rivers, lakes, and wetlands. We are ready to use a variety of compliance tools to correct illegal activity and restore the environment where unpermitted activities occur. This includes formal enforcement.
The Farm was fined $21,750 for violating the Act. It was required to make structural improvements to reduce farm runoff to the Dead Creek tributary and to restore the wetlands through an Agency-approved plan. The Vermont Superior Court, Environmental Division, overruled Conservation Law Foundation’s objections and approved the agreement in a Final Judicial Order dated December 10, 2021.
Source:Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.Montpelier, Vt. 12.21.2021