Off-Roading Ends Until California Park Cleans up Its Act
Clean Water Victory at Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area
Oakland, CA — A California Superior Court has ordered the Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreational (OHMVR) Division of the California Department of Parks and Recreation (Department) to shut down all off-road motor vehicle activity at the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreational Area (Carnegie SVRA) until they file a report of waste discharge (RWD) and obtain a permit for pollutant discharges from the heavily used off-road park. The park discharges prodigious quantities of heavy metals and sediment into Corral Hollow Creek near Tracy, California.
The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed the lawsuit on September 17, alleging that the off-road park had failed to request and obtain the legally required permit for pollutant discharges from Carnegie’s numerous off-road trails. Following a December 4th hearing, Judge Roesch of the Alameda Superior Court ordered the Department to “submit a report of waste discharge for water pollution associated with the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area” and to “suspend all off-road highway motor vehicle activity at Carnegie SVRA, including vehicles driving in Corral Hollow Creek” until they “have submitted an RWD and received waste discharge requirements or received a waiver of such WDRs from the Regional Board.”
“State-run off-road parks should be a model for promoting responsible off-roading,” said California PEER Director Karen Schambach. “Instead, they’ve been polluting water, allowing unchecked erosion, and violating both the law and their own regulations.”
CSPA’s Executive Director Bill Jennings said, “Hopefully, the court’s order will prompt the Carnegie SVRA to obtain required permits and begin instituting necessary measures to reduce and eliminate the massive discharge of pollutants into Corral Hollow Creek, as well as prohibiting the extensive motor vehicle activity in the creek itself.”
Two claims remain in the lawsuit. The lawsuit also alleges that the Department is violating State water quality objectives in Corral Hollow Creek and has failed to comply with its own regulations requiring monitoring of soil loss and damage to wildlife habitat. The park is habitat to a number of species protected under state and federal endangered species acts.