The San Juan Daily Star
Army Corps of Engineers issues notices of violations in Jobos Bay reserve
By The Star Staff
The district commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Jacksonville has issued notices of violations to individuals within the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, the agency has announced.
The violations are of the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act. They involved discharges of dredged or fill material into, and the construction of structures and work in, navigable waters of the United States without a Department of the Army permit, a USACE statement said.
The Caribbean Sea and abutting tidally influenced wetlands in Puerto Rico are subject to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. Violations of those statutes may be resolved through the restoration of affected resources, after the fact permitting or other means and may be subject to civil enforcement actions and criminal prosecution.
“The Corps will continue to pursue its investigation into alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors at Jobos Bay,” the USACE statement said. “The Corps welcomes all steps taken by the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and other interested federal agencies to address the ongoing violations at Jobos Bay and the harm resulting from those violations.”
The document did not reveal the names of the individuals who engaged in the violations.
The area became the site of controversy after it was revealed that mangroves were cut down and illegal construction was carried out in the wetlands reserve.
Among the structures are campsites, buildings, swimming pools and fences.
The FBI, along with the Special Investigation Bureau and the island Department of Justice, conducted a visual inspection at Jobos Bay.
After an investigation by local authorities got underway, several campers abandoned the site and water was turned off to units that did not provide the required documentation.