Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


Bruce Willis Agrees to Pay $21,000 Penalty and Restore Wetlands

Release Date: 8/26/2004
Contact Information: Mark Macintyre
(206) 553-7302

August 26, 2004

Bruce Willis, of Hailey, Idaho, has signed a Consent Agreement and Final Order with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to settle allegations that he violated federal wetlands protection laws on residential property he owns in Blaine County, Idaho. The settlement includes payment of a $21,000 penalty.

EPA alleges that in the Fall of 2003, work was performed without a permit in wetlands on residential property owned by Mr. Willis. A half acre forested wetland island was cleared of vegetation, a buried sprinkler system was installed, and top soil was placed to fill depressions, level the ground and prepare for sod installation. An additional 10 cubic yards of material was placed in a stream to provide access to the island.

According to Jim Werntz, the EPA Region 10 Idaho Office Director, wetlands throughout Idaho – especially in the Sun Valley area – are rapidly disappearing from pressure by both development and burgeoning water use.

“Less than one percent of our state is wetlands,” said Werntz, “And that one percent provides over 50% of Idaho’s wildlife habitat. EPA and the Corps of Engineers intend to enforce wetlands protection laws. We hope this action will prevent similar violations and reduce the threat to our priceless wetland resource.”

The affected forested wetland is part of a spring-fed tributary of the Big Wood River, running through the Sun Valley area. Forested wetlands along the Big Wood River and its tributaries provide valuable wildlife habitat. An Idaho Fish and Game inventory of forested wetlands shows these wetlands are unique and are in decline due to irrigation withdrawals and development pressure. Only 5% of the Big Wood wetlands are forested. Restoring damaged forested wetlands is extremely difficult because of the long time period needed for the woody vegetation to regrow.

Willis and his associates have applied for permits or permit modifications on seven separate occasions, receiving most of these permits between 1994 and 1999. In 1998, the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) cited Mr. Willis for violating the conditions of their Stream Alteration Permit for bank stabilization work. The IDWR required the removal of structures that had been unlawfully installed in the river.

Under the terms of this settlement, Willis has begun restoration of the site and will complete replacement of the destroyed wetland vegetation by October 31. The agreement also requires that site recovery be monitored over the next decade.

This Consent Agreement is currently under public notice for the next 40 Days. Comments may be sent to:

Carol Kennedy
Regional Hearing Clerk
U.S. EPA, R-10 (OR-158)
1200 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101

Related Links:
Willis Compliance Order (43kb, 5pp, .pdf)
Willis Consent Agreement and Final Order (52kb, 11pp, .pdf)
Wetlands Fact Sheets (
Clean Water Act Enforcement (
Idaho Department of Water Resources (
Obtaining Wetland Permits from Corps of Engineers (
Construction Industry Compliance Assistance (