Attorney general: Man used bulldozer to alter course of river, possibly endangering salmon habitat

SHELTON -- A man living on the Tahuya River near Shelton faces criminal charges for allegedly using heavy machinery to fill and alter the course of the river, possibly endangering salmon and other local wildlife that depend on the river for survival.

William Cayo Sr. is charged in Mason County District Court with the violation of the water pollution control act, violation of the shoreline management act and conducting unpermitted hydraulic actives in connection with him allegedly altering a channel of the river on his property, the Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday.

According to court documents, Cayo allegedly used an excavator and bulldozer to fill the river channel near his home. Biologists concluded he moved about 5, 747 square meters of river bed to fill an active channel and change the conditions of the river.

Under state law, a property owner may work with the county and other agencies to develop a responsible, professional and effective hydraulic or shoreline project that protects both private property and our natural resources.

Unpermitted and improperly designed work in a riverbed or on a shoreline, however, can damage neighboring properties, pollute the river, and kill fish, the attorney general's office said.

The Tahuya River is a popular salmon run.