The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered CRV Enterprises and Ryan Voorhees of Galt, Calif. to stop dumping dredged and fill material into Cosgrove Creek, its tributaries, and wetlands in the Calaveras River watershed in Valley Springs, a violation of the Clean Water Act.
In addition, the EPA ordered the company and Voorhees to develop a restoration plan for the site, and a 5-year monitoring plan to ensure the restoration project succeeds.
"We will ensure the environmental damage to the Calaveras River watershed is addressed with our full oversight," said Alexis Strauss, the EPA director for water programs in the Pacific Southwest Region. "Destroying wetlands, creeks and other vital waterways leads to increased flooding, poor water quality, and elimination of habitat for wildlife. This is unacceptable and illegal, and we will continue to do all we can to protect California's natural resources."
In June 2004, the EPA inspected Gold Creek Estates, the residential development site, at the request of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The agency found that CRV Enterprises had used heavy equipment for grading, compaction and filling activities to fill areas in the creek and adjacent wetlands. In total approximately 3 acres were filled without permits from the Corps.
In addition to requiring the company to immediately stop the unauthorized activity, the EPA's order requires the CRV Enterprises to:
- Develop a removal and restoration report to determine if the impacted wetlands can be restored;
- If restoration is feasible, the companies must restore and revegetate the creek and wetland area; and
- Develop a 5 year monitoring program to measure the performance of the restoration project.
If it is determined that a restoration plan is not feasible, the company must identify and restore similar aquatic habitat within the Calaveras River watershed. Failure to comply with the EPA order could result in penalties against CRV Enterprises for as much as $32,500 per day per violation.