U.S. EPA and Clark County reach agreement over unpermitted Laughlin Lagoon Dredging Project
LAS VEGAS — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final agreement with the Clark County Department of Public Works (Clark County) over unpermitted discharges of dredged material into the Laughlin Lagoon, a part of the Colorado River, in southern Nevada. Under the terms of the settlement, Clark County will implement wetlands conservation and mitigation measures at Laughlin Lagoon.
“The Colorado River is a vital source of drinking water and wildlife habitat in the western United States,” said EPA Regional Administrator John Busterud. “EPA is pleased that as a result of this settlement Clark County will provide critical wetlands habitat in the Laughlin Lagoon and Colorado River.”
From September 2018 through January 2019, Clark County used mechanized equipment to dredge 224,342 cubic yards of sediment from approximately 22 acres of channels in Laughlin Lagoon. During dredging, Clark County deposited some of that dredged material in the lagoon to construct temporary work platforms and haul roads to assist in further dredging.
For this work, Clark County failed to obtain an appropriate Clean Water Act (CWA) 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in violation of Sections 301(a) and 404 of the CWA.
Clark County has agreed to enter into an Administrative Order on Consent which assures that wetland conservation and mitigation measures laid out in a Fish and Wildlife 2018 Biological Opinion are carried out successfully. This includes installation of informational signs and “no-wake” buoys (to require boats to turn off engines in certain areas) to protect wildlife species and their habitat, in addition to installing, monitoring and caring for at least one acre of southern cattail in shallow water. The cattail will provide critical habitat for three listed endangered species -- razorback sucker, bonytail chub, and Yuma Ridgway’s Rail.
For more information on the importance of wetlands, please visit: www.epa.gov/wetlands.
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.