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EPA resolves alleged wetlands damages at Utah Lake marina

Saratoga Springs Owners Association and Cross Marine Projects agree to restore and enhance wetlands and pay $150K Clean Water Act penalty

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Richard Mylott (

DENVER -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with the Saratoga Springs Owners Association, Inc. and Cross Marine Projects, Inc. (Defendants) resolving alleged unpermitted dredge and fill activities and damages to wetlands at a Utah Lake marina facility in Utah County, Utah. Under the terms of a consent decree in the Federal District Court of Utah, the Defendants will restore and enhance more than 7 acres of wetlands and pay a civil penalty of $150,000.

“EPA is pleased to see these long-standing allegations resolved and looks forward to the successful completion of wetlands restoration and enhancement projects at Utah Lake,” said EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento. “Dredging and filling in navigable waters, like the marina expansion at issue in this case, requires a Clean Water Act permit to ensure needed projects are carried out with minimal impacts to waters, wetlands, and aquatic ecosystems.”

In December 2017, the United States filed a complaint against the Saratoga Springs Owners Association and Cross Marine Projects for damages associated with alleged illegal dredge and fill activity. EPA asserts that between September 2013 and February 2014, the Saratoga Springs Owners Association and Cross Marine Projects dredged a marina access channel and discharged the resulting fill material into Utah Lake and adjacent wetlands without a Clean Water Act (Section 404) permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In March 2018, EPA, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers participated in mediation with the Defendants. The resulting consent decree requires the Defendants to pay a civil penalty of $150,000 and to restore an approximately 0.37-acre wetland and enhance an additional 7.0 acres of wetlands adjacent to Utah Lake. The restoration plan also includes reporting requirements and success criteria. After the parties reached agreement on the consent decree, the public was given a 30-day opportunity to comment. No comments were received, and the court entered the decree on November 19, 2018.

Utah Lake is a water of the U.S. and is habitat for projects associated with an Endangered Fish Recovery Program, established in 1999, to protect the June Sucker, a fish that naturally occurs only in Utah Lake and spawns only in the lower Provo River. The rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands in the area are important as habitat for fish and wildlife, water storage, water quality enhancement, flood control, and aesthetics. The State of Utah has designated Utah Lake as impaired for its failure to meet water quality standards.

Under the Clean Water Act, dredge and fill activities conducted in waters of the U.S. and adjacent wetlands are subject to a permitting program operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The permitting process is intended to allow necessary work to occur, while ensuring it is completed in a manner that prevents and minimizes impacts to water quality and aquatic resources. Utah developers and landowners planning to do such work in Utah should contact U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District - Bountiful Field Office at (801) 295-8380 to determine if a permit is needed. 

For more on the Clean Water Act Section 404 permit program: