Water Quality Fee Schedule for Marijuana Cultivation

CaptureInformation provided by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, North Coast Region (1):

On August 13, 2015, the Regional Water Board adopted a water quality regulatory Order R1-2015-0023 (the Order) to address water quality impacts from cannabis cultivation and associated activities or other operations with similar environmental effects on private property in the North Coast Region.

The annual fees associated with enrollment in the Order are set by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and will be presented for considered adoption by the State Water Board on September 16, 2015 during their regularly scheduled Board Meeting.  Below is a link to the meeting agenda at which the proposed FY 2015-16 Water Quality Fee Schedule (Item 2) will be presented for the Board’s consideration.  Please see the bottom of page 2 of the agenda for instructions on how to submit written comments.  http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/board_info/agendas/2015/sep/091615_agenda.pdf

The proposed annual fee schedules for 2015-2016 can be viewed here and includes an annual fee schedule for marijuana cultivation as follows:

2200.7 Annual Fee Schedule for Marijuana Cultivation.

(a) Annual fees for waste discharge requirements and waivers of waste discharge requirements for discharges associated with marijuana cultivation shall be as follows:
(1) Category 1: If a discharger is not a member of a group that has been approved by the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board, the following fee schedule applies :

Tier Discharge Threat1 Annual Fee
1 Low Threat to Water Quality $1,000
2 Moderate Threat to Water Quality $2,500
3 Elevated Threat to Water Quality $10,000

(2) Category 2: If a discharger is a member of a group that has been approved by the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board, the following fee schedule applies:

Tier Discharge Threat1 Annual Fee2
1 Low Threat to Water Quality $700
2 Moderate Threat to Water Quality $1,750
3 Elevated Threat to Water Quality N/A

1 As assigned by the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board

2 Dischargers in Tier 3 may join a third-party group, but must pay the Category 1 fee unless the Regional Water Quality Control Board subsequently assigns the Discharger to a lower tier. Any Discharger that is required by the Regional Water Quality Control Board to take corrective action shall be subject to the fee schedule in Category1 for a minimum of one billing cycle, and for all subsequent billing cycles until all corrective actions are complete as determined by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Note: Authority cited: Sections 185 and 1058 of the Water Code. Reference: Sections 13260 and 13269 of the Water Code



  • So what they are saying is its ok to pollute and ruin our watersheds if you pay them off to do so,… All this does is prove that they dont give a rats tail about rhe salmonoids, and are simply extorting landowners,…and holly hall will moddle man these shannanigans for a few thousand dollars

    • Ya and no accountability for the previous destruction of our watersheds by industry, who pay less taxes than any of us. I guess poisoning “unwanted” trees, clearcutting hillsides and spraying herbicides mixed with diesel fuel are just fine. Not to mention the 40plus feet of silt in south fork eel from poor logging roads and practices. The water is in the eel its just running underground thru the silt. So now we get to pay again and again for industry’s poor practices. Who deems whats poor and good water usage? The things I am hearing from folks going thru the permit process are ridiculous!!! Someone dug a lil run off ditch to help drain water from their horse training corral, a big flat circle. The biologists with f&g said since they did that it was deemed a “wetland”. Total bs.
      Its cheaper to get a well dug anyway and a lot less hassle than having idiots who know nothing of our area try to figure out whose water is “right”.
      Plus wont whatever state law thats passed take precedence over a county law??? I fear these groups have wasted precious time and energy arguing amongst themselves instead of figuring out how to protect our resources from a statelaw that may open the door for corporate grows and massive toxic indoor scenes. What good is the water if its polluted? One indoor bulb broken near a waterway can poison 50,000 gallons of water, not to mention the illegal poisons being sprayed everywhere indoors. Oh thats right the enviro groups are located in no hum where theres indoor scenes everywhere so I guess they are protecting their new area. Seeing mites in the forest of no hum is awful but no one seems to care.

      • The issue is the work ethic, a country`s wealth is the productivity of it`s people. The Japanese & Korean`s have
        zippo – nada in the way of natural resources, but created powerhouse economies in the blink of an eye.
        once they caught on to productivity, and neither culture suffers the problem of urban underclass layabouts.

    • thats what it looks like

    • shoelessSean- Your comment is not only clumsy and green around the gills, but it is incredibly irresponsible. Be careful, you are condemning an entire program created (the only one to date mind you) to not only help encourage cannabis farmers to come into environmental compliance, but also making them pay to do so without any threat of raids or enforcement. Or maybe you are a prohibitionist and don’t believe that cannabis should be grown at all and that the 40 plus years of a failed drug war is the best way to save the salmon?

      A good friend of mine once said ‘If there are no rules, no one will follow them.” Here are some rules, are they perfect, probably not. Will they change with time, most likely. Are they better than nothing. Absolutely. I may be mistaken but perhaps you are advocating for the status quo?

      As for your comment about Hollie Hall, shame on you. Hollie is a leading advocate and expert about watersheds and land stewardship. You clearly have never spent any time with her, because if you had you would have been floored by the sheer brilliance she possesses, not to mention humbled by the commitment she has to helping this community move forward on an environmentally sustainable path. To sit behind a keyboard and attack a woman who has done and will do, I can only presume, more than you ever will to mitigate negative environmental impact is embarrassing.

      Please feel free to post your plan on how to protect the salmon. I look forward to reading it.

  • And leave these posts up lym they are truthful!

  • I’ve got so many questions on this: Will they test for runoff ag waste (fertilizer, etc)? Erosion (road and other graded land/outbuilding creation of mud that is transported by large storms)? Remediation methods…..catchment areas, mini dams in creeks to capture sediment? And a few of us have old ponds – can these get permitted after the fact? (grandfathered in?)

    • Well they are going to tell you that nothing is good, that your culverts are too small and that your roads arent proper.
      Nit pick the crap out of you, and that its all your fault for not having spent tens of thousands already,…
      But hey just pay some.fees and itll all be better although it really isnt.
      Id like to know how these people at the water board want to make.us believe that its ok to let the next salmonoid species go extinct by collecting fees from farmers.
      Get real, no matter how much money you throw at them, it will not help the fish one bit, so we basically have to pay them to destroy whats left of these habitats.

      • Your scenarios fit precisely with every brach of the UN agenda21 campaign.
        One America
        Mega cities
        Tactical Urbanism
        Planning for a different world
        You name it, they all lead to the same agenda. Moving rural life into mega cities (stack & pack) to free up the country sides. No cars, no ski lodges, no nothing, except magical little Parkletts to help cure cabin fever.
        Apparently, rural America spends more on gasoline itself than they do on taxes. By decreasing the gas, the government has more income to swindle & guilt people out of, via taxes.
        Do you want beautiful sustainable compact green apartments or would you whether live in the country & kill off the planet? Delphi Method of ballots.
        That’s the same technique used on smoking bans, that destroyed business & property owner rights.
        It’s not a conspiracy, it’s fact.

        • The Government wants more & more control over our every day lives. Like we are children and dont know any better.This is just Socialism folks, This is how socialism works, The problem with Socialism is eventually you run out of other peoples money.

  • Multiply that by the 4300 actice grows in humboldt, and you got a few million dollars to mismanage for all sorts of corruption at the Sacramento waterboard. Surely in a few years we will read about missing millions and all sorts of shannanigans, so
    Heil waterboard! Heil waterboard
    Sacramento über alles!

  • Someone needs to post up diane houliouses.phone number, im sure she will gladly talk to and answer tens of thousands of questions,… Cmon kym get some phone numbers posted we are taxpayers and have the right to do so.
    Let’s call and ask, simple! Get them.copper lines nice and hot!

  • If they cant get you for an illegal crop, take away your money ,your produce, your lively hood, so now they are coming through the back door, and charging us for water. What the holy hell. The amount of water on this planet called earth remains the same, the sea is not going to dry up, the rain will still fall and the rivers will still run,
    OK so they added polluted water to the mix. If the earth itself does not filter it, how about installing a post water filter, problem solved. But then again this is about ” them ” big government taking or robbing us again for the people at the top to continue their lifestyle.

  • Cool! These fees are pretty low. Just a few pounds. Business as usual- Everybody Go For It!!!!

  • Yes, because paying fees will totally rectify the problem. Let’s buy some carbon credits while we’re at it.

  • I almost forgot to mention that the corrupt police in tijuana have an identical price list for all sorts of infractions.

  • If growing weed on a commercial level becomes legal, will this be a huge issue? How many corn fields do you see growing in the Emerald Triangle? About the only reason we’re famous is because we’re so remote and weed is easy to hide.

    • There actually a lot of corn being grown between Rio-Dell and Ferndale, some within the flood plain of the Eel. Hundreds of acres of bright green corn. I wonder how that many acres of corn got so big and green? Couldn’t of been from fertilizer, could it of? Thousands of gallons of fertilizer because they’re watering legitimate ACRES of fucking corn.
      Not Square Feet – fucking ACRES.

      • When it becomes legal you can just lease a few acres of that rich corn growing bottom land soil and avoid all the headache of hauling in soil and figuring out how you’re going to divert headwater.

      • The corn grown along Hwy. 101 is organic and was only irrigated once. Most of it had been planted in a pasture mix that was 60 percent clover. The clover’s microbes had fixed nitrogen to it’s roots thus providing nutrients for this years corn crop.

      • Lost Croat Outburst

        Good point. It takes approximately the same amount of water to grow an acre of corn or tomatoes as it does an acre of hemp or high-test buds. All these crops require some fertilizer, “organic” or not. All need to be monitored, just like grapes, for water consumption and fertilizer and pesticide run-off. The idea of demon cannabis alone just sucking the hills dry is not accurate. In the long run your farm capacity depends on the space you have for pots or fields and the available sun and water.

    • Easy to hide? Think again. Eradicating marijuana is like catching fish in a barrel. If only the plants could run when the helicopters show up.

    • It’s not just weed, it’s everybody’s veggies & fruits. Look past the word “weed” and you’ll find their true motive. “And other plants that require water”

  • Quote: “or other operations with similar environmental effects on private property”

    Low risk, pay up.
    Any “farm” over 6 plants, pay up. (according to the last bleep they sent out, & podcasted). “Yes, this includes vegetables & orchards. In fact, we have a certain strawberry field in mind. Even though that’s not TOP priority at this time, that will change.”

    Register, you’re discounted, at this time. As with anything, prices are subject to change. Inflation & all, you know.

    • “Related to this question was if other crops would be included in square footage. One man from Willits described a five acre vegetable farm with only a couple of marijuana plants. Would the whole acreage then be classified as part of a substantial marijuana grow, or would there be a distinction?

      The men from the Water Board did not have a clear answer, which prompted the question of whether or not vegetable farms would be inspected at all. McIntee responded, “We’re probably not going to come out to your property immediately.” And this set off a bit of an argument in the room about the state’s efforts to regulate, at which point O’Neill urged his fellow farmers to cooperate, saying, “This is regulation and it’s either going to happen by us or to us.”


  • Until its legal on a federal level this is just a waste of everybody’s time. Bootleggers will be bootlegers. Sure, go ahead and fine the ones you bust, but does anyone out there really plan on filing this crap? No.

    • You’re damn right I’m going to file. And as far as legality on the federal level, Colorado and Washington seem to be doing just fine. The problem is when a state has no comprehensive guidelines regulating marijuana. The Feds have said, follow the laws of your state and they’ll stay out of it.

  • Plus all the road construction.when it rains all I see is rainbow colors from oil being washed right into the river.And being on the vol fire depart weve pulled big semi trucks with huge diesel containers that wrecked into the river and spilled all the diesel out.Most of the people out here that waste water are non growers that water fields with huge sprayers,i know I see it year after year,all year long.They are trying to take our water rights away.Dont lay down and let them.I heard other countries fought really hard to keep water rights.If I was a fish a wouldnt swim up these rivers with all the mass toxic waste from the non grow toxics.

    • They start with the lowest on the social scale and start moving up from there. With some possible exceptions.
      They have begun inspections on older homes along the Russian looking for failed or near failed septic systems.
      Many of these are older homes of folks who do not want to sell out to big vineyard owners and are of limited income.

  • Are these fees equitable when compared to other water users like vineyards and dairy farms? These fees will only be viewed as punitive if they are not in line with the fees extracted from other businesses and will largely be ignored. There’s a dangerous sentiment out there to stick it to the marijuana growers as if they’re all evil people. We should be doing everything we can to favor the small mom-and-pop farms over the large-scale corporate farms to keep the wealth decentralized, the quality standards higher, and to reduce the effects of pest and disease outbreaks when they do occur. More money stays in the local economy with the smaller scale business models. Marijuana is a commodity like anything else subject to the laws of supply and demand…deal with it.

  • Someone called the current state of affairs the worst of both worlds. Heavy taxes, enforcements that are discriminatory, possible arrest and loss of everything at any time just if they feel like it.
    And for all that trouble and money? Zero help from our California Ag, research departments on any pest issues,
    production studies and every other benefit the so called real farmers get.

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