EPA reaches settlement with landowners in Duchesne County, Utah to restore Duchesne River and floodplain on Uintah and Ouray Reservation
Karl and David Lamb to restore portions of the Duchesne River and floodplain impacted by unpermitted construction activities
Duchesne County, Utah – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Karl and David Lamb to remedy environmental impacts associated with alleged Clean Water Act (CWA) violations in Duchesne County, Utah. The Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) between EPA and the Lambs remedies unpermitted dredge and fill activities, and associated discharges, to the Duchesne River and its adjacent floodplain on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.
Under the terms of the AOC, the Lambs have agreed to submit and implement a restoration plan to remedy the impacts of the earthmoving activities on the Duchesne River. EPA is working collaboratively with the Ute Indian Tribe and the Lambs to oversee the completion of all actions required by the order.
“The Clean Water Act safeguards our rivers, lakes, and streams and protects the communities that depend on them,” said Suzanne Bohan, Director of EPA Region 8’s Enforcement & Compliance Assurance Division. “With this action, EPA is ensuring the proper restoration of vital river and floodplain resources, including lands held in trust for the Ute Indian Tribe.” EPA alleges that in July of 2019, the Lambs used a track hoe to excavate materials from the Duchesne River and floodplain; and partially construct a diversion channel that ran onto a neighboring parcel held in trust for the Ute Indian Tribe.
EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) conducted a site visit at the Lamb’s property in September of 2019, and confirmed the activities listed above had taken place. These activities resulted in discharges of dredged and fill material into and along approximately 0.96 acres of the Duchesne River and floodplain, increasing the potential for erosion and sedimentation within the river.
The Duchesne River provides aquatic and wildlife habitat, water runoff, groundwater recharge, and recreation and nature viewing. It also has significant cultural and historic importance for the Ute Tribe. To ensure there are no disproportionate environmental impacts in this area, local community members should contact EPA with any information about activities that could degrade the River and the associated watersheds and environment in this historically underserved area.
Dredge and fill activities conducted in waters of the U.S., such as the Duchesne River, are subject to CWA permitting programs operated by the Corps. The permitting process is intended to allow necessary work to occur, while ensuring it is completed in a manner that minimizes impacts to water quality and aquatic resources. Before performing any work in Utah that results in discharges of dredged or fill material into rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands, any person planning to do such work should contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nevada-Utah Regulatory Section, 533 West 2600 South, Suite 150, Bountiful, Utah 84010, telephone: (801) 295-8380, e-mail: SPKRegulatoryMailbox@usace.army.mil.
For more information on Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/cwa-404/permit-program-under-cwa-section-404
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