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MailTribune.com
  • Actor, husband resolve river permit issue

    Screen actor, husband resolve EPA issue by removing riprap along Rogue River
  • Screen legend Kim Novak and her husband, Robert Malloy, have resolved a two-year problem that started when they failed to get federal permits to place large rocks along the Rogue River to prevent erosion on their Eagle Point ranch.
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  • Screen legend Kim Novak and her husband, Robert Malloy, have resolved a two-year problem that started when they failed to get federal permits to place large rocks along the Rogue River to prevent erosion on their Eagle Point ranch.
    According to Environmental Protection Agency officials, the Malloys began removing the large-diameter riprap along a 345-foot stretch of riverbank last week after various state and federal agencies couldn't agree on a compromise plan.
    Novak, 76, goes by the name Marilyn Kim Novak Malloy and is famous for her roles in movies such as Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" and in Otto Preminger's "The Man with the Golden Arm." The couple own a sprawling ranch along a bend in the river.
    Yvonne Vallette, aquatic ecologist for the EPA, said boaters on the river alerted state and federal regulators of the Malloys' unauthorized work.
    The river is designated as a critical habitat for salmon species under the Endangered Species Act.
    The work took place in spring 2006 without Clean Water Act permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
    Vallette said that because of the way the rock material was installed it would slough off into the river eventually. She said the work also was causing the river to shift.
    The Malloys lost a couple of big trees in 2006 and the bank started eroding. "They panicked a little bit," said Vallette. "To save a bit of the property they thought it was in their best interests to put riprap there."
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was prepared to do an after-the-fact permit, but that idea died because of the poor installation of the rock material, she said. Further complications arose in getting a design approved from all agencies involved, Vallette said.
    "We elected to say that this has dragged on long enough and told them just to remove it," she said.
    The Malloys will plant some vegetation to protect the banks once the rock has been removed.
    "They've been very cooperative," Vallette said. "This has been their first offense. We do not need to do a penalty."
    The Malloys' home is some distance from the area where the rocks were placed, so the couple couldn't qualify under emergency provisions that would have allowed them to fix the problem more easily, Vallette said.
    She said she wasn't aware initially that the property belonged to a movie star until after she took the case.
    Other properties along the river have problems. Vallette said her agency wasn't singling out the Malloys specifically, but it always discloses violations as a deterrent to others.
    "No one is above the law," she said.
    She said various factors determine when the EPA goes after a property owner, particularly if the changes are egregious.
    Sometimes property owners appear to have altered the banks, but those changes are above the ordinary high water mark and are outside the jurisdiction of the EPA, she said.
    Vallette said her agency is considering taking action against other property owners in the future.
    The Malloys did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday.
    Phil Scoles of Terra Science Inc. of Portland, which has been helping the Malloys resolve the problem, said his clients had waited two years to get a permit and finally decided they didn't want to wait any longer.
    "It is better for the Malloys to remove the riprap," he said.
    According to his assessment, Scoles said the placement of the rocks has not changed the floodplain.
    When the ground gets wetter, his clients will plant willow stalks that will be part of an effort to stabilize the soil along the banks.
    Scoles said Novak herself has not been part of the discussions to resolve the riprap issue.
    "It's her husband that's been involved," he said.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.
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