Skip to main content
Press Release

Volga Man Sentenced to Probation for Disturbing Protected Wetlands of the United States

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier sentenced a Volga, South Dakota, man convicted of Disturbing Protected Wetlands of the United States on July 6, 2020.

Kevin Jay Mast, age 63, was sentenced to 1 year unsupervised probation, a $100 fine, and $10 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Mast was also ordered to comply with the restoration of the protected wetlands on his land.

Mast was indicted for Disturbing Protected Wetlands of the United States by a federal grand jury on September 6, 2017.  A jury convicted him of the violation on January 18, 2018.  

However, Mast appealed the conviction to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The appellate court agreed with Mast, and the case was remanded for trial.  Following a court trial on February 5, 2020, Mast was found guilty on May 21, 2020.

On January 19, 1973, an easement was voluntarily sold to the United States for waterfowl management rights.  The easement prohibited the drainage of any wetland areas on the property.  In 2010, U.S. Fish and  Wildlife notified Mast that his plan to install drain tile conflicted with the protected wetlands and would not be permitted.  Despite the warning, Mast installed the drain tile in the fall of 2013.  Judge Schreier’s verdict concluded that Mast disturbed, injured, and destroyed the wetland areas protected by the easement, and did not have the authority and permission of the United States of America.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper.

Updated July 7, 2020