EPA cites Michael and Richard Gard for damages to Wind River wetlands near Dubois
Release Date: 01/07/2010
Contact Information: Monica Heimdal, 303 312-6359; Peggy Livingston, 303 312-6858
Unauthorized construction activities at River Park subdivision
(Denver, Colo. – January 7, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a compliance order to Michael Gard, Richard Gard, and Professional Home Design, Inc., of Riverton, Wyo., in response to unauthorized impacts to wetlands adjacent to the Wind River in Fremont County.
Between June 2008 and April 2009, the Gards, or persons acting on their behalf, partially drained, excavated and filled approximately 0.81 acre of wetlands on two adjacent lots at the River Park subdivision located six miles east of Dubois. The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of material to wetlands unless authorized by a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“EPA is encouraged that the Gards have expressed a clear intent to resolve this matter,” said Darcy O'Connor, Acting Director of EPA's Water Enforcement program in Denver. “We will continue to take action against those who violate federal laws that protect Wyoming's waters.”
An investigation of the site by the Army Corps of Engineers found that two trenches, each three to four feet deep, and 60-feet long, had been cut in wetlands in 2008, resulting in the discharge of dredged material. Four perforated drain pipes were also installed on site in 2009, which involved the excavation of two additional trenches through wetlands. Material excavated from onsite, as well as offsite material, was used to construct a building pad and access road in wetlands. The Corps issued a cease and desist order in May of 2009 and referred the case to EPA.
The EPA order requires Professional Home Design and Michael and Richard Gard to conduct restoration or mitigation activities in accordance with an EPA-approved plan. The Gards will remove unauthorized material in the wetlands and restore areas to their pre-impact condition and grade.
The wetlands associated with the Wind River are important habitat for local and migratory birds and wildlife, water storage and retention, water quality enhancement, flood control and aesthetics. Sediment from construction activities is a major water quality issue and results in negative impacts to aquatic life and wetland functions.
Developers, consultants, government agencies and other landowners who plan to conduct earth-moving activities near wetlands, rivers, streams, ponds and other water bodies should contact their local office of the Army Corps of Engineers to determine if a permit is required for the activity. The Wyoming office of the Corps can be reached at:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Wyoming Regulatory Office
2232 Dell Range Boulevard, Suite 210
Cheyenne, WY 82009-4942
Information on permitting requirements may also be found online at: https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/html/od-rwy/Wyoming.htm
For more information on the Clean Water Act, visit EPA's compliance web page: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/cwa/index.html
For more information about the importance of wetlands in flood control and habitat conservation, visit: http://www.usace.army.mil/ or http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/