Farmland, News Desk

Almond Grower Fined $160,000, Must Purchase Conservation Easement

The Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Edward Lynn Brown for destroying valuable wetlands in the San Joaquin Valley of Northern California. In August 2012, Brown leased 850 acres of grazing land to convert into an almond orchard. The Army Corps of Engineers informed him that the tract contained protected vernal pools and instructed him to apply for a federal Clean Water Act permit before altering the land. In September 2012, Brown destroyed 32.7 acres of vernal pools without applying for a permit. The settlement requires Brown to pay a $160,000 penalty and purchase and endow a $1 million conservation easement from the EKR Ranches Foundation.

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