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June 9, 2011

COURT ORDERS LAND OWNERS TO REMOVE DAM ON LA PARA CREEK

(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) - U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack has ordered two land owners to remove a dam placed across La Para Creek in Live Oak County, Texas, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Judge Jack issued the order on Wednesday, June 8, 2011, granting the government's motion for summary judgment in the case of United States v. Michael Brink et al. Brink and his neighbor, Dr. Steven Kalter, built a large concrete, steel and earthen dam across La Para Creek in June 2009 without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as required by Section 404 of the Federal Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act requires a federal permit for discharge of any dredge or fill material into “Waters of the United States,” which includes lakes, rivers, streams, tributaries and some wetlands adjacent to those bodies of water.

The Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) had sought the removal of the structure which blocks important fresh water inflows to the Nueces River, Lake Corpus Christi, the Nueces Estuary System and ultimately Corpus Christi Bay since the summer of 2009. When the structure was not removed, the Corps referred the case to the Department of Justice for resolution. This office filed a civil complaint against Brink and Dr. Kalter on July 20, 2010, seeking an order for removal of the illegal fill and later filed a motion for summary judgment. Judge Jack’s June 6, 2011, order granted the government’s motion and the June 8th order requires the removal of the structure and restoration of the area to its 2009 pre-construction condition. Additionally, the defendants have been ordered to submit a timetable for the removal within 15 days of the final order to the Corps.   

The civil case was litigated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Wendlandt.

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