Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Sections
You are here: Home About Press Press Releases Wild Fish Conservancy, Center for Environmental Law & Policy file legal action to clean-up Leavenworth Hatchery water pollution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wild Fish Conservancy, Center for Environmental Law & Policy file legal action to clean-up Leavenworth Hatchery water pollution

Wild Fish Conservancy and the Center for Environmental Law & Policy announced they filed legal action to compel the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to clean-up the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery now polluting Icicle Creek.
Sep 29, 2015

WILD FISH CONSERVANCY
PO Box 402 Duvall, WA 98019 · Tel 425-788-1167 · Fax 425-788-9634 ·
info@wildfishconservancy.org
Contact: Kurt Beardslee, Wild Fish Conservancy, 425-788-1167
Dan Von Seggern, Center for Environmental Law & Policy, 206.829-8299
Brian Knutsen, Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC, 503-841-6515

Wild Fish Conservancy, Center for Environmental Law & Policy file legal action to clean-up Leavenworth Hatchery water pollution

For 36 years, federal hatchery has been illegally polluting Icicle Creek

 

Tuesday September 29, 2015 – Today, Wild Fish Conservancy and the Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CELP) announced they filed legal action to compel the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to clean up the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery now polluting Icicle Creek.

FWS is discharging pollutants into Icicle Creek from the federal hatchery located near Leavenworth, Washington, without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.  Despite repeated encouragement over years to update the federal hatchery, including a 60-day notice filed in July, federal officials have continued to operate the facility in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.  In 1979 the facility’s permit expired, and for the past thirty-six years the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has been operating without a permit, violating federal clean water laws.    

Pollutants released from the Hatchery to Icicle Creek include but are not limited to: disease control chemicals, pathogens, nitrogen, phosphorus, antibiotics, chemicals used for disinfection and other fish culture purposes,  residual chemical reagents and salt and chlorinated water.  The wastewater discharged by the Hatchery contains excess phosphorus and violations of the applicable water quality criterion for pH have been recorded in lower Icicle Creek as a result.  This phosphorus loading also contributes to violations of water quality standards in the Wenatchee River.

“The Clean Water Act is the main mechanism through which pollution of our waters is prevented, and the Hatchery is obligated to apply for a permit and to operate according to its conditions,” said Dan Von Seggern, staff attorney for CELP. “Filing a lawsuit is a last resort.  However, a great deal of effort by many groups and individuals to get the Hatchery to obey the law has been unsuccessful.  This litigation is aimed at ensuring that the federal agency carries out its work to augment salmon runs without harming Icicle Creek.”

“By not having a current NPDES permit, the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery has been in violation of the Clean Water Act for thirty six years,” said Kurt Beardslee, executive director of Wild Fish Conservancy. “Over the past fifteen years we have worked with local citizens and representatives of state, federal, and tribal agencies to try to get the Leavenworth Hatchery to comply with state and federal law to protect and restore native fish species listed under the Endangered Species Act and to restore the integrity of the Icicle Creek ecosystem. It is discouraging to realize that yet again the Hatchery blatantly disregards its legal obligations and the needs of the Icicle Creek ecosystem. The saddest part of this is the public is unknowingly paying for it.”

The Leavenworth National Hatchery was constructed between 1939 and 1941 near Leavenworth, Washington, and is located on the banks of Icicle Creek approximately three miles from the river’s confluence with the Wenatchee River. The federal hatchery has a long history of violations of federal environmental laws. Despite repeated attempts, including litigation, the federal facility continues to be in violation of federal laws, notably the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.

Wild Fish Conservancy and CELP are represented by Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC of Portland, OR.

Link – CELP, Wild Fish Conservancy vs US Fish and Wildlife Service, Daniel Ashe

###

Document Actions