Volga man sentenced for disturbing protected wetlands

SIOUX FALLS – U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier sentenced a Volga man convicted of disturbing protected wetlands of the United States on Monday, United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced this week.  

Kevin Jay Mast, 63, was sentenced to one year of 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. 

A federal grand jury indicted Mast on Sept. 6, 2017. A jury convicted him of the violation on Jan. 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 Feb. 5, 2020, Mast was found guilty on May 21, 2020.  

On Jan. 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. 

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.