Blanco v. Duneland
Blanco v. Duneland Development Group, et. al.
Salt Creek is a small to medium-sized stream that flows north through Porter County in northwest Indiana. Salt Creek flows through wetlands and joins the Little Calumet River near Portage, which flows into Lake Michigan near Burns Harbor. Salt Creek is also on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM) impaired waters list.
The leading water quality problem in many watersheds, including Salt Creek, is soil erosion and stormwater runoff that increases turbidity. Turbidity blocks sunlight from reaching aquatic plants, making it impossible for them to grow and degrading the necessary habitat for fish. Soil erosion and turbidity also decrease the amount of oxygen in water, reduce the depth of the water body due to sediment buildup and cause a murky, dirty appearance.
According to public records obtained from the Porter County Building Department and Plan Commission, the Department of Natural Resources and IDEM, developers of the Eagleview Subdivision in Valparaiso, clear-cut 14 acres of natural, forested property in the Salt Creek watershed in 2004 to build a residential subdivision. During construction, the developers failed to institute and maintain proper soil erosion and stormwater control measures at the site.
Their failure to uphold these measures resulted in excessive soil- and sediment-laden runoff entering a tributary of Salt Creek. The runoff further degraded the watershed and damaged adjacent property owned by Geoff and Maria Blanco. Expert analysis revealed that the developers could have prevented over 6,000 tons of soil from entering the Salt Creek watershed by implementing an adequate soil erosion control program.
On November 27, 2007, LEAF filed a Complaint for injunction and damages against the developers of the Eagleview Subdivision on behalf of Geoff and Maria Blanco.
A Brown Mess: Subdivision Owners Had Enough of Damage Created by Rain, Gitte Laasby, Post-Tribune, November 12, 2007.