Garfield Man Found Guilty Of Constructing A Road Through A Protected Wetland Basin
MINNEAPOLIS – Last week in federal court, a 48-year-old man from the central
Minnesota community of Garfield was found guilty of constructing a road through a federallyprotected
wetland basin located on his property. Based on evidence presented during a two-day
bench trial last August, United States Magistrate Judge Leo I. Brisbois issued a written order on
January 4, 2013, convicting James Bosek of one misdemeanor count of filling a wetland that was
subject to a federal easement under the National Wildlife Refuge System Act.
Judge Brisbois found that Bosek engaged in prohibited activity when he built a road across
the eastern edge of his property, located in rural Douglas County. The property is subject to a
perpetual easement that the U.S. Department of Interior purchased in 1963. Bosek purchased the
property subject to the easement in 2001.
Judge Brisbois found that Bosek knew of the easement before building the road, and that
Bosek did not obtain permission or authorization from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(“USFWS”) before building the road. The USFWS discovered the road while making an
unrelated visit to Bosek’s property in April of 2008. Judge Brisbois credited the trial testimony
of a USFWS biologist, who surveyed the property and concluded that Bosek’s filling of the
wetland damaged the wetland as a protected native habitat for waterfowl. Bosek was charged on
August 19, 2011, after refusing the USFWS’s demand that he remove the road and restore the
Under the statute of conviction, Bosek faces a potential maximum penalty of 180 days in
prison, a $5,000 fine, and costs of restoring the wetland. Judge Brisbois will determine his
sentence at a future hearing, scheduled for March 27, 2013, at the federal courthouse in Fergus
Falls. This case is the result of an investigation by the USFWS. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lola Velazquez-Aguilu, Thomas Calhoun-Lopez, and William J.