3 Kooskia Residents Plead Guilty
COEUR D'ALENE - Paul S. McConnell, 69, and James F. Renshaw, 49, both of Kooskia, pled guilty in federal court in Coeur d'Alene last week to Discharge of a Pollutant and Unlawful Taking of a Threatened Species, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.
A third defendant, Donna McConnell, 61, also of Kooskia, pled guilty to Discharge of a Pollutant.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Paul and Donna McConnell own property abutting Clear Creek in Kooskia, approximately 1.5 miles upstream from the Kooskia National Fish Hatchery. Clear Creek is habitat for threatened steelhead trout.
In August 2007, the McConnells asked Renshaw to channelize Clear Creek in an effort to prevent flooding during spring runoff. Renshaw dredged rock and soil from the creek and redeposited the material into the creek and on the banks. The channelization significantly damaged steelhead trout habitat in the river and produced large amounts of silt downstream from the work site.
None of the defendants had a permit to perform the work in Clear Creek. The violations occurred on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation.
Violations of the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act each carry a maximum prison sentence of one year, supervised release of up to one year, and a fine of up to $100,000.
Sentencing is scheduled for December 14 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale in Coeur d'Alene.
The case was investigated by Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement.
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