Chippewa County District Court Judge Sentences Two Wetland Violators to Jail Time
Chippewa County District Court Judge Michael W. MacDonald recently accepted a guilty plea and sentenced two individuals to serve five days in jail and pay a fine of $2,500 plus $155 in court costs and fees in connection with illegal dredging and filling of state regulated wetlands. The defendants, Michael Edward Coon and Michael Donald Lucchesi, pled guilty to a misdemeanor violation of Michigan’s wetlands protection law as a result of their driving off-road vehicles through valuable Great Lakes coastal wetland areas on Drummond Island, destroying much of the wetland vegetation and disturbing the habitats of nesting Ospreys and other wildlife.
In addition to serving jail time, Judge MacDonald ordered the defendants to file with the court a plan to restore the impacted wetland areas to their original condition in accordance with DEQ requirements and to have the wetland restoration plan completed by no later than June 30, 2008.
This resolution is the result of the coordinated efforts between the DEQ, Department of Natural Resources, and the Office of Chippewa County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Peppler. These combined efforts have resulted in quickly resolving this case and ensuring that the coastal wetland area will be restored.
“It is critical that we protect our Great Lakes coastal wetland areas that provide a unique and valuable ecological habitat for Michigan’s fish and wildlife,” said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester. “We appreciate the support of the local community in helping to resolve this case and protect our environment.”
Judge MacDonald additionally required the defendants to provide a letter to the residents of Drummond Island through the local newspaper regarding the violation and terms of their sentence.