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EPA Proposes Settlement to Protect Sacramento River Endangered Species

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SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a proposed enforcement action related to violations of the Clean Water Act on the Sacramento River in Red Bluff, Calif. EPA is proposing an administrative settlement with Justin Jenson, the owner of a residential property in Red Bluff, for his failure to obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before conducting work in approximately 90 linear feet of the Sacramento River. This work by Jenson was found to have the potential to harm critical habitat for several endangered or threatened fish species.

“This action demonstrates EPA’s commitment to ensure that development in waterways happens with proper permitting, to protect fish, wildlife and the environment,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman.

The Clean Water Act requires landowners and developers to obtain a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers before making alterations to waterbodies like the Sacramento River that are considered “waters of the United States.”

EPA’s proposal, a consent agreement and final order, is subject to a 30-day public comment period. Members of the public can read EPA’s proposal and submit comments on EPA’s website. EPA is proposing Mr. Jenson pay a $33,000 penalty to settle the violations.

The proposed settlement states that, in November 2021, Jenson conducted bank stabilization activities along the Sacramento River that disturbed 90 linear feet of the river. Jenson’s activities included the use of heavy equipment and replacement of native soil and vegetation with rock. This portion of the Sacramento River is considered critical habitat of at least four endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, including the Sacramento River Winter-run Chinook Salmon, Central Valley Spring-run Chinook Salmon, California Central Valley Steelhead, and the Southern Distinct Population Segment of North American Green Sturgeon. Jenson’s unauthorized bank stabilization activities were found to have the potential to impact this critical habitat by failing to incorporate mitigation measures. 

Learn more about EPA’s wetlands protections programs.

Report a violation on EPA’s website.

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Author: Region 09

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