Alaskan landowners to pay $10,000 for Clean Water Act violations

March 6, 2024
Ryan Smith and Noah Smith will pay a fine for violations made in April 2021.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in a press release that two people, Ryan Smith and Noah Smith, will pay $10,000 for multiple violations of the Clean Water Act at their property in Central, Alaska.

In April 2021, the two used heavy equipment and cleared more than five acres of wetlands adjacent to Crooked Creek. The work, which was unpermitted, resulted in the moving and discharge of organic and mineral soils, gravel, overburden, logs and woody debris into wetlands, including some located on property owned by the State of Alaska.

“This case sends a clear message that compliance with the Clean Water Act is critically important to protect our Nation’s waters,” said EPA Region 10 Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Director Ed Kowalski in the press release. “It’s the responsibility of anyone attempting to build or construct near waters of the U.S. to apply for the required permits and comply with local, state and federal rules designed to protect our waterways.”

Crooked Creek is listed as impaired for turbidity under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. Discharges of dredged and fill material can result in increases in turbidity for downstream waters. 

In addition to the fine, Ryan Smith and Noah Smith will implement extensive fill removal and wetland habitat restoration activities under an approved restoration work plan, conduct annual monitoring for five years, and preserve over five acres of wetlands important for birds and wildlife. 

A permit is required from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for certain work, including dredging and construction activities, that may impact waters of the U.S., including wetlands.

Additional details can be found in the Consent Agreement and Final Order.