UNION GAP, WA – Richard and Sarah Tamburello of Kennewick have been fined for failing to restore the shoreline and remove the fill material they illegally placed in the Naches River floodway near Nile in Yakima County.
The state Department of Ecology issued the Tamburellos a $16,000 civil penalty for not following an enforcement order issued in January 2017. In that order, Ecology and Yakima County required them to prepare and submit a restoration plan and obtain all the necessary permits to remove the fill.
Beginning in May 2013, the Tamburellos placed 296 cubic yards of fill material in the Naches River floodway below the ordinary high watermark and in an associated wetland. All work was conducted without necessary local, state and federal permits.
The fill, equal to roughly 30 dump truck loads, can obstruct the river’s floodway and alter flow patterns and flood depths.
“Fill within the floodway can impede water dispersion and impact property owners downstream. Floodway and floodplain habitat is vital for our state waters. It provides a place for our rivers and streams to safely fluctuate, distributes nutrients and sediments for plant and soil health, creates and improves habitat, and increases public safety,” said Gary Graff, section manager with Ecology’s Shorelands and Environmental Assistance program at the central regional office in Union Gap.
Wetlands are critical to overall watershed health because they protect surface and groundwater, provide erosion control, recharge groundwater, and offer wildlife habitat. Such functions are lost when wetlands are filled.
The penalty follows numerous opportunities for the Tamburellos to prepare, submit and implement plans to restore the shoreline disturbed by their construction activities.
The Tamburellos have 30 days to file an appeal with the Shorelines Hearings Board.