Blueberry farm settles fine for overwatering

2017-08-13 | Skagit Valley Herald

Aug. 12--LYMAN -- U.S. Golden Eagle Farms, a company that grows blueberries on Cockreham Island, will restore nearby stream habitat under a settlement agreement with the state Department of Ecology, according to a news release.

The farm in 2016 had appealed a $16,000 fine from Ecology for illegally watering 200 acres of blueberries.

Under the settlement, the farm will spend the $16,000 on two nearby restoration projects along a Skagit River tributary, according to the release.

The project includes improving fish habitat and planting vegetation.

Following the penalty, U.S. Golden Eagle Farms secured authorization to water its acreage, according to the release.

The overuse of water leading to the penalty came during a severe drought, although Ecology stated the citation was not tied to the drought.

The department documented overwatering on four visits to the farm during summer 2015 and issued warnings to the company numerous times, according to the release.

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-- Reporter Aaron Weinberg: 360-416-2145, aweinberg@skagitpublishing.com, Facebook.com/byaaronweinberg