Kittitas County Resident Fine For Damaging Manastash Creek Bed
A Kittitas County resident has been fined for changing the channel of Manastash Creek and causing extensive damage to the shoreline and creek bed on property northwest of the creek at Brown Road.
Trees and other vegetation were removed from 700 feet of the shoreline, and the course of the creek was repositioned approximately 25 feet to the south without proper permits from county, state and federal jurisdictions.
Monica Hunt of Ellensburg was fined $16,000 by the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) for changing the course and characteristics of the creek, in violation of the Clean Water Act. Manastash Creek is listed as an impaired water body for turbidity and pesticide contamination.
For the past decade, local property owners have been working with Ecology to improve water quality in the watershed as required under federal law. Riparian disturbance and creek bed destruction contribute to water pollution, increase the damage from flooding and can undermine recovery efforts.
Ms. Hunt has been ordered to restore the functions of Manastash Creek by restoring Riparian buffers, making native Riparian plantings and seeking approval for the restoration work from appropriate agencies. She will be required to prepare a restoration plan and obtain appropriate permits to work in the floodplain.
The enforcement action followed numerous interactions and site visits with Ms. Hunt since June 2011, including technical assistance by Kittitas County code enforcement, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Ecology.
Investigators noticed Ms. Hunt's project became far greater than she first described it. The scope of the project as conducted lacked a county flood plain development permit, hydraulic project approval from WDFW and approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Ms. Hunt has 30 days to pay the penalty or may file an appeal with the state Pollution Control Hearings Board.