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Restoration funded for watersheds impacted by unregulated cannabis cultivation
Four watershed sites have been identified by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to collectively receive awards of $1.3 million for unregulated cannabis cultivation. As part of Assembly Bill (AB) 243, Governor Jerry Brown had earmarked $1.5 million for CDFW’s Cannabis Restoration Grant Program.
“These grants mark an important step forward in our efforts to address the extensive damage to habitat and toxic chemicals threatening a host of wild species,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “Providing a resource to address the impacts of reckless cannabis cultivation adds an important piece to the complex puzzle of our existing watershed restoration work.”
The projects funded under the 2017 Cannabis Restoration Program are scheduled to begin in early 2018. These projects include:
- Bull Creek Cannabis Recovery Project – 94,510 to Eel River Watershed Improvement Group
- Reclaiming our Public Lands and Watersheds from the Environmental Threats of Trespass Cannabis Cultivation – $1,068,415 to Integral Ecology Research Center
- SF Usal Creek Headwaters/Trash and Toxin Cleanup – $83,840 to Eel River Watershed Improvement Group, and
- Whitethorn Grove Clean Up – $64,831 to Sanctuary Forest, Inc.
“I have seen firsthand the devastation to the watersheds caused by these rogue cannabis growers,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-2nd District- Humboldt), the author of AB 243. “They divert water, use prohibited herbicides and leave behind hundreds of butane canisters and chemical ponds that pollute our waterways affecting the salmon and trout populations. I am thankful that Governor Brown allocated $1.5 million this year to kick off this very targeted restoration program for the North Coast area and look forward to the state identifying future funds so we can continue this critical work.”
The Cannabis Restoration Grant Program was established this year by CDFW in response to legislation aimed at regulating the burgeoning legal cannabis industry in anticipation of the legalization of pot new year. In his signing message to Assembly Bill 243, Governor Brown directed, “the Natural Resources Agency to identify projects to begin the restoration of our most impacted areas in the state.”