Operation Yurok Concluded

This is a press release from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

Officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently participated in a large-scale, multi-agency operation to address the devastating effects of illegal marijuana cultivation on fish, wildlife and the environment in northern California’s watersheds. The four-day mission concluded Thursday, July 16.

Operation Yurok, July 2015
Operation Yurok, July 2015 
Operation Yurok, July 2015
Operation Yurok, July 2015

Allied law enforcement agencies including the State Water Resources Control Board, Yurok Tribal Police, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and federal law enforcement teamed with CDFW wildlife officers to serve dozens of search warrants, investigate pollution and water diversion crimes, and eradicate numerous marijuana plants as part of the joint effort dubbed “Operation Yurok.”

More than 100 environmental violations of the Fish and Game Code were discovered and eight suspects were arrested. Charges are pending for additional suspects.

“This operation was about more than just the criminality of marijuana cultivation,” said Lieutenant DeWayne Little of CDFW’s Watershed Enforcement Team (WET). “At its roots, it was about protection of the environment.” Created by CDFW in the last year, WET is comprised of both law enforcement officers and biologists, whose primary mission is to take an all-encompassing approach to investigating and protecting waterways from diversion, obstructions, alteration, pollution and litter.

During this period of unprecedented drought, water conservation is gravely important. An average mature marijuana plant consumes an estimated six to 12 gallons of water per day.

“Operation Yurok” teams eradicated more than 29,000 thirsty marijuana plants from the area, which equates to hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per day that will no longer be diverted and prevented from feeding the nearby Klamath River.

The Klamath River is considered by the locals to be the lifeline for many people. Water flows from the river must be great enough to sustain local drinking water needs and support successful salmon runs, which equate to a food source for the local Yurok tribe. Yurok Tribal members and other locals have expressed great concern about illegal marijuana grows in the area, due to the Klamath River’s historic low levels.


All photos provided by Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Earlier Chapters:




    Was three gallons a day, then six, now it’s 12!


    I guess if you repeat a lie enough people believe it.

  • eight arrests and not one freaking name or residence? were they tribe members or “cartel” grows or just your run of the mill low-life scum grows?

  • I’m all for working to clean up and take measures to avoid future environental issues, but…. Come on let’s all take a step back and consider the big picture on the Klamath. Your tax dollars are subsidizing thousands of acres of onion and potato farms in the Klamath basin that are irrigating with a huge huge volume of river water. These farms would be in the red if they didn’t have farm subsidies and free water. The pot farms on the res are literally a drop in the bucket compared to the basin farms.

    Fish and game- let’s see some of the enviro issues? Pictures? A trash dump up there is no surprise. We’re there gardens picked by fish and game for being egrigouse violators or were they picked by sheriffs and fish and wildlife just got called along to tag on some more fines?


      What about hay farms running on basin water that use chemigation in rotational irrigation systems? They are spraying broad leaf weed control mixed with fert and buffers because the water is alkaline.

      It’s sad that the Pit River has been diverted away from Goose Lake, when it used to flow into the lake making it the second largest lake in the state. Most of the Pit is recycled through hay farms and gets dirtier down the line. By not flowing into Goose Lake the monsoon season was changed over the Warner area.

      One hay farm would use more water than most of the growers combined.

  • the bigger picture

    I agree with Fredm. I’m guessing that the water diverted from the dams are a much bigger problem. There are a lot of growers that are using only organic fertilizers and are actually using much less than the quoted 6-12 gallons of water a day due to good watering techniques and shorter growing seasons. I wish that law enforcement were able to distinguish between the destructive ‘mega grows’ and the smaller mom and pop’s who are really just trying to make a living in an area with very little jobs.

    • Hard not to agree. Just like guv brown’s water restrictions in ca not applying to ag. Whaaa? R u shitting me?! Our tax dollars at work…..to divert our attention from the real problems.

  • how about the potatoes , the potato farmers don’t use no water neither do the beef ……..

  • Same old Drug War dressed up as Eco Warriors. At the hear of it is eradication.

    And yes, you tell the lie about water use enough and they count on people to get tired of calling them on it.

  • I don’t know if anyone remembers that huge tribal trash dump down river from W’peck on the road to Johnsons. It was an avalanche of garbage that went all the way to the river. The [edit: Native Americans] were pretty good at trashing the environment long before Marijuana arrived on the scene. On the other hand I think many growers would admit that the amount of weed being grown these days is way out of hand. Now that supply has outstripped demand and greedheads keep growing more and more to make the same nut it has become a truly destructive enterprise in many watersheds. It reminds me of the gold rush. In the beginning a prospector with a pan or small sluice could scratch out a living with a little luck. By the end big operators were tearing down mountains and fouling the rivers to make a profit.

    • There’s also the “old dump”, between Martins Ferry and Weitchpec on Route 169, where, for decades, a lot of locals [edit: Native Americans] dumped their trash from the road down the hillside right into the Klamath River. According to stories I’ve been told that was also an avalanche of toxic waste right down to the river. I don’t know who the tribe blamed back when the guys in space suits came to clean that mess up, but I’m sure if it was today they would find some way to blame it on the pot growers. After all it is the evil , greedy, low-life, skumbag, non-local pot growers that are the cause of every bad f..king thing going on this county. Wake up people! Anyone who is stupid enough to believe that pot growers are the reason your rivers are f..ked up should take your lazy ass for a drive over to Redding, head south on interstate 5, pay attention to the surroundings as you continue to Hwy 20 East, & take 20 east to Yuba City . At that point you will have just driven through a fraction of what is the cause of your rivers being f..ked up.

      • Dave earlier I misread your comment and thought the garbage avalanche you were talking about was on Johnson Rd., but now I’m pretty sure I’m talking about the same area.

  • River runs through it

    The Yurok tribal police along with national gaurd are still at work. They eradicated 3000 more plants yesterday. Fish and wildlife have concluded. Any more info on this appreciated. It’s like a war zone out here

    • I’m working on clarifying what is going on. According to the Yurok tribe’s Facebook page,
      the helicopters etc. are just involved in cleanup. “This week, law enforcement officers from the Yurok Public Safety Department, California National Guard Counterdrug Unit and BIA will be dismantling water diversion systems and remediating environmental damage at several sites.”

      • river runs through it

        Yesterday they also had a road block in Weitchpec and were stopping people. I wasn’t told why they were there. Sorry I don’t have more info than this.

  • Great job Law enforcement thank you .don’t forget a lot of growers flush their plants at the end of season which would require even more water.

    • Perhaps you’re unaware that a lot of growers in addition to switching to plain water as the flowers finish ripening cease irrigation altogether before cutting the plants, the rationale being you don’t need to water a plant you’re about to cut, hang and dry. So the net effect is water use drops in the last weeks.

  • I don’t know about every grower but the practice of flushing is commonly thought of as just giving plain water with no nutrients in the last few days/weeks before harvest. The actual amount of water given is not increased.

    • Literature states that plants drink 30% less water during flowering than during growth.

      Not to mention the weather changes into cooler days/nights and shorter days completely – thus providing an environment which demands much less water.

  • Operation not concluded. Blackhawk flying.

  • river runs through it

    Bee, Your statement just goes to show how ignorant non cannabis folk can be. Flushing does not requite “more” water. I think you should educate yourself about farming before you make such statements. Its people like yourself who spread “mis information’ which creates non factual beliefs amongst people who read them. I hope you will come to see that the cannabis farming is not why the Klamath River is in the shape its in. Have we so quickly forgotten the DAM, are we ignoring the dumping of pesticides from fruit farms into the Klamath in Southern Oregon? Don’t forget the FACTS.

    • Ditto that, Spent some time on the upper Klamath this spring. The ag pressure on the river is huge even without the dams. The depletion and run off from both farms and cattle is probably why the Klamath looks more like an east coast industrial waterway than any other north coast river.

  • The biggest diversions of water is ran by the government, until that issue is dealt with, we all have to suffer. Thanks Uncle Sam, break down the dams destroy haarp that’s just a start!

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