Sonoma County Pollution Case Settled for $38,000 in Costs and Penalties

Media Contacts:
Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 508-7095
Terry Menshek, Sonoma County District Attorney Media Coordinator, (707) 565-3098

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office announced a settlement in a pollution case involving Salmon Creek in the town of Bodega.

In 2013, CDFW wildlife officers and staff from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) responded to public complaints that Sonoma County’s normally pristine Salmon Creek had suddenly turned brown with an unusual amount of sediment in the water.

Excessive sediment in the water smothers salmon eggs and impairs the survivability of juvenile salmon and other sensitive riparian species. The investigation concluded the sediment originated from a vineyard project run by Mr. Stephen Kistler, who was draining a pond as part of the development. California Fish and Game Code prohibits the discharge of any material that is harmful to fish, plant life, mammals or bird life.

In a civil court resolution, Kistler agreed to prepare a reservoir management plan, pay a civil penalty of $25,000, plus $5,000 in restitution that will go into an account to benefit riparian habitat in Sonoma County, as well as repay $8,653.96 in costs associated with the investigation.

For more information, please see the Sonoma County District Attorney’s statement on the case at:$38-000-in-Costs-and-Penalties-to-Vineyard-Developer/.