One of Donald Trump‘s golf courses could be fined thousands of dollars after a dozen mature trees were cut down and cast into a river in Virginia.

The trees were dumped in the Potomac River after being felled at the Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, reports said.

Steven McKone, the director of an outdoor education centre, and other boaters saw stumps in the water as well as large tree trunks floating by, according to The Washington Post.

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They were spotted on 23 February.

Authorities in Loudoun County said in a statement that cutting and disposing of the trees in such a manner violated the area’s zoning laws.

A spokesperson for the county said removing trees from a flood plain along the river requires a permit, which was not obtained.

The golf course has been ordered to cease all development activities along the flood plain until it is issued a permit.

If “corrective actions” are not taken, the golf course faces an initial fine of $600 (£460), for three separate violations.

This could rise to $500 for every 10 days which pass if the golf course does not secure the permits it needs.

Loudon officials will inspect the course every 10 days, the spokesperson added.

More than 1,700 people have signed a petition protesting the golf course’s activity.

The Potomac River Keeper Network, an NGO which launched the petition, described the golf course’s actions as showing a “total disregard for [the] environment and clean water”.

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In 2010 the golf course reportedly cut down 400 trees on the site.

Donald Trump later told The Washington Post that the trees were removed to create a better view.

Additional reporting by agencies

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