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The owner of an Acton, Calif., recreational vehicle park and campground was ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove structures that divert the flow of the Santa Clara River to form a swimming area and to restore a section of the environmentally sensitive waterway.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Young Song, owner of the Robin’s Nest Campground in Soledad Canyon, faces fines and prosecution if he does not remove structures that diverted the flow of Southern California’s last wild river.
According to a press release from the EPA, he also must restore wetlands that were cleared and graded near the headwaters of the river that flows to the Pacific at Oxnard.
The orders followed an investigation initially conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers in Los Angeles, which wants to protect the river, particularly the headwaters because the location provides a high-quality habitat for an endangered fish.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state Department of Fish and Game and the state Regional Water Quality Control Board informed Young in 2003 of permit requirements for grading wetlands in relation to his plan to grade the wetlands and dam the river to create a swimming pool, according to the EPA statement.
In May 2005, after learning from a local resident that large-scale earth-moving activities were under way, the Corps of Engineers ordered Young to stop filling the river without the required Clean Water Act permit.
A recent inspection by EPA and the Corps of Engineers representatives found about 2.2 acres of the river and surrounding wetlands had been filled with water, compromising the flow, the EPA report said.