- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 28, 2006

A D.C. yacht club has agreed to pay $10,000 to a charitable foundation to settle a federal criminal investigation into the illegal discharge of concrete debris along the Anacostia River.

The District Yacht Club also must become a member of the “Clean Marina” program of the National Park Service, under a deal approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola.

The plea agreement, which Judge Facciola accepted Dec. 12, also calls for a three-year probation during which the club must develop an environmental plan subject to approval by the Park Service. The plan must include the hiring of an outside environmental consultant.

The yacht club, at 1409 Water St. SE, discharged 240 square feet of concrete debris into the river in 2003, according to court records. An attorney for the club could not be reached yesterday.

No individual club member was charged in the investigation.

Criminal prosecution under the federal Refuse Act, which the yacht club was accused of violating, includes maximum penalties of $2,500 for each violation and/or imprisonment up to a year.

A volunteer at the club who asked not to be named had told The Washington Times the concrete was placed into the river in connection with a project to install a new rail system used to bring boats in and out of the river.

The plea agreement states the yacht club must pay the $10,000 to the National Park Foundation, which was created by Congress in 1967 to raise and administer money for the nation’s parks.

The foundation has been active in local conservation efforts. Last year, members provided money to restore seven miles of trails along the Anacostia in a project with the Greater Washington National Parks Fund.

Jamie Patten, a foundation spokeswoman, said yesterday that the settlement money would not be accepted on behalf of parks. Officials had no details about how the yacht club funds would be spent.

A statement of facts filed jointly by the yacht club and the U.S. Justice Department earlier this month states that on May 8, 2003, one or more officers of the club “knowingly and intentionally” directed the deposit of the concrete debris into the Anacostia about two feet in front of a sewage outfall pipe.

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