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South Dakota Men Agree to Civil Settlement for Unpermitted Excavation, Dredging Near Missouri River in Dixon County, Neb.

Release Date: 12/20/2010
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394, whitley.christopher@epa.gov


Environmental News


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Kansas City, Kan., Dec. 20, 2010) - Two South Dakota men have agreed to a civil settlement with EPA Region 7 in which one of the men will pay $65,000 for using earth moving equipment to perform unauthorized excavation and dredging work that impacted nearly 22 acres of wetlands near the Missouri River in Dixon County, Neb.

Kevin Vaughan, of Jefferson, S.D., conducted the digging and earth moving on land owned by Bryce Andersen, of Dakota Dunes, S.D., without obtaining necessary permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act, according to an EPA civil complaint filed June 25, 2010.

In addition to paying the $65,000 civil penalty, Vaughan has submitted to EPA a draft work plan for restoring the site. Vaughan is working with the Agency to develop an approved plan for restoration of the affected area.

Vaughan’s excavation and relocation of fill material into Turkey Creek and wetlands adjacent to the Missouri River, which occurred in the fall of 2005, also impacted approximately 1,250 linear feet of the creek, according to the June complaint.

A Corps of Engineers representative inspected the property on May 31, 2006, and documented that the discharge of dredged material into the river had altered its natural flow by disconnecting its backwaters and tributaries, including Turkey Creek. During a 2006 visit to the site, Vaughan told EPA personnel that he had performed the dredge and fill work in order to create a hunting habitat for himself and his associates.

“Landowners must consult with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before doing any work that may impact water bodies,” EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. “This type of unpermitted activity degrades watershed health, results in habitat loss, impacts stream channel configuration, decreases biological diversity, and limits the movements of fish, other aquatic organisms, and organic material. Wildlife diversity is impacted, and the ability of the wetlands to absorb floodwaters, and to filter pollutants, is harmed.”

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Learn more about EPA’s civil enforcement of the Clean Water Act