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Vineyard developer fined for waterway violation

A vineyard developer accused of releasing sediment-laden water into a creek that is home to Coho salmon will pay $38,000 to settle his case, Sonoma County prosecutors said Tuesday.

Stephen Kistler of Santa Rosa agreed to the penalties in connection with the April 10 discharge of reservoir water into a tributary of Salmon Creek near the town of Bodega.

An employee pumped the water into Salmon Creek during construction of an irrigation pond, turning the pristine waters dark, prosecutors said. Neighbors also noticed a change in color of unnamed tributaries.

An investigation by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies led to the source.

Kistler was accused of violating state Fish and Game laws by releasing potentially harmful materials into waterways. He did not return telephone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Under the civil settlement, Kistler will pay a $25,000 civil penalty, $5,000 in restitution and $8,653 for investigative costs. He'll also prepare a reservoir management plan.


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