Fish and Wildlife Lieutenant Talks Raids in Humboldt–Who Gets Raided and Why

Marijuana-garden-large-graded-Feature Humboldt County Sheriff

Marijuana garden raided in 2015. [Photo from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office]

The Department of Fish and Wildlife participated in multiple marijuana garden raids in Humboldt County during the last two months. On most of those raids that agency supported other agencies (for instance, they assisted the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office “about 25 times” and assisted “a federal agency on Wednesday.”) However, Lt. Dewayne Little of Fish and Wildlife tells us his agency ran “three or four” raids in Humboldt County during June and July. On those operations, they served 15 search warrants.

Little explained that his office mostly seeks the search warrants based on complaints or from aerial surveillance. He said, “Mostly [we have] no ground intel–we respond to complaints from primarily citizens and local agencies. Also violations seen from the air.”

Then his office aggregates the information they have received. Using that information and knowing they have limited resources, they chose which search warrants will help them protect the environment most effectively. “The raids [usually] focus on a single watershed which has the potential to have the greatest impact,” Little explained.

“We look for damage to critical habitat for salmon and endangered amphibians,” he said. This, he explained means that the raids are not always on the gardens with the largest number of plants. “Doesn’t always mean the most plants,” he stated. “It might be a water diversion from a stream.” He said they also look for “polluting with fertilizer, pesticides, litter, and sediment [such as from illegal grading.]”

According to Little, his agency considers whether the grower is attempting to get the proper permits from other agencies but they mostly consider whether the grower is in violation of Fish and Wildlife regulations. “We’re typically looking for someone cultivating outside of state law and county ordinances.,” he explained. “[But] just because you have a waiver from the Water Board and a permit from the county doesn’t mean you are following Fish and Wildlife regulations.”

In addition, he said, sometimes growers when filing for these permits have not done the things they said they had done to protect the environment. “Just because someone says they are doing something, doesn’t mean we as a state are interpreting it that way,” he explained.

“My program works with the impact of cannabis,” he explained, “but this program is not set up very different than the Fish and Wildlife’s timber program. I would use the same path or same implementation for marijuana. This not going to be handled any different than any other industry.”

When pressed though, he conceded that farmers growing tomato plants in ways that violated Fish and Wildlife rules did not usually face having their crops destroyed like marijuana farmers do. However, he said that this is because personnel from his agency had determined through interviews or indications at the grow site including exceeding square footage regulations that “[the marijuana farmers] are actually cultivating for profit which is still illegal.”

In addition, he stated, “There have been many times we’ve walked away from the grow. Four or five times walked away. We didn’t cut any plants down.” He said they walked away because the growers showed that they were making the environmental changes required by law.

Little says that growers are flooding this area and trying to take advantage of the changing rules. “The cart has been put before the horse,” he said. People bring in bulldozers and excavators without trying to get permits….Now all this damage is done.”

Not all marijuana growers damage the environment, Little said. “A lot of growers think of themselves as stewards of the land.” But many are causing problems. “[Some] are here for one reason only –profit. Taking advantage of the loopholes.”

Little worries that the environment will suffer for years because of what has been done here in Humboldt recently. “Just like the Gold Rush, we are going to see the results of this egregious activity last for generations.”

A majority of the owners of land where marijuana are grown are absentee owners, claims Little. “Flipping properties for 10 times the market value.  I’m seeing Humboldt County–a place I spent a considerable amount of time in when I was young being turned upside down.”

Little said he became part of the Fish and Wildlife cannabis team, “to have influence on what going on in the future so I can spend my retirement days fishing for salmon.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

57 comments

  • I hoped you would of asked about storing water during the high flows or winter month..if I am reading this correct,the state is gearing up to not allow this type of diversion/ storage for commercial cultivation !That leaves most of humboldt high and dry.
    From earlier press release on this site.
    “State Water Board staff will discuss efforts to develop and adopt interim principles and guidelines to ensure that water diversion and discharge associated with commercial cannabis cultivation do not affect the instream flows needed for fish spawning, migration, and rearing, and the flows needed to maintain natural flow variability”

    • Hi LLC:

      You are not reading it correct. You are reading the opposite. The Interim Flow Requirements will restrict diversions during low flow periods. They will also seek to clarify and streamline the process of storing water during peak and high flow events.

      • Hezekiah is correct. Capturing and storing rainwater and winter surface water flows are regulatory and environmental solutions.

        • Hollie is right.Capturing rain is the best.

        • Thank you hezekia ,Hollie .
          Although you may be correct about storing and capture as a viable option. I am reading fish and game site and these ” In stream flows ” or the IFP is an area that each watershed will likely require more study ..

          https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Watersheds/Instream-Flow

          What is Instream Flow?
          Instream flow is used to identify the rate of water flow, measured in cubic feet per second (cfs), required at different times of the year at a specific location in a waterway. Instream flow criteria and implementation of these flows are required to protect aquatic habitat, sustain wildlife, provide recreational opportunities, and support agriculture and domestic uses. While some watersheds have flowing water throughout the year, it is often the responsibility of water managers to distribute the water between uses. CDFW, a natural resource management agency, is faced with the complex task of identifying and recommending instream flows necessary for supporting natural resources. Determining instream flows are crucial so that aquatic, riparian, and terrestrial resources dependent on water will be considered and protected during water distribution activities.

          https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Watersheds/Instream-Flow

    • rain water is free fish and wildlife in courage these ponds with the right permits

    • Henchman Of Justice

      Legalization at the state and local levels to sell marijuana and its products legally is a trojan horse by the feds to disarm more americans unjustifiably,

      No different than fish and game’s trojan horse of blanketed fallacies (ex. – the meme of some growers who consider themselves all pro mother nature, but are still hurting…….but no explanation how, what infractions explained with facts cuz reasonable minded people call bullshit on fallacies).

      Ya think Fish and Game would go after the real threats to our environment…..urban run offs, vegetation loss and travelers to rural areas whose garbage moves in transit by land, sea and air……..it is all about forcing infill where services are centralized……..to gubbamint, societal wealth is urbanizing and restricting rural opportunities…….if a person can and has for all of eternity pulled water from a water source, then a person shall still do the same……interesting gubbamint restricts that use using the environment because of damages by unreasonable people, but that the gubbamint blanket regulates when it has yet to prove that the good users are not doing good.

      As politics deceives, take the bad, make it appear mostly bad (with a few meme examples of fallacies), to over regulate the good.

      MJ Legalization = 2nd amendment restrictions and more regulation prejudiced against rural living while turning a blind eye to urban impacts because urban is a tax generating machine for gubbamint where pigs (people) are confined and controlled as livestock slaves…….create a local ordinance to induce the wannabe permitees to sign up (is the county giving permits illegally on violation of federal laws without first requiring permitees turn in their firearms??????? – ya see, a backdoor for voluntary or involuntary gun control)…….before ya know it Humboldt will be a near gun free county if the feds swoop in to collect fire arms…….quid pro quo style…….ya want to be a illegal drug user (card holders and permitees included), then to pay to play, ua must relinquish, give up, not have firearms……

      😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈

      US court upholds ban on gun sales to marijuana card holders
      SUDHIN THANAWALAASSOCIATED PRESS | August 31, 2016, 1:05PM Updated 16 hours ago.

      SAN FRANCISCO — A federal government ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.

      The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals applies to the nine Western states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction, including California, Washington and Oregon.

      It came in a lawsuit filed by S. Rowan Wilson, a Nevada woman who said she tried to buy a firearm for self-defense in 2011 after obtaining a medical marijuana card. The gun store refused, citing the federal rule banning the sale of firearms to illegal drug users.

      Related Stories

      DEA: Marijuana to remain illegal under federal law
      Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has told gun sellers they can assume a person with a medical marijuana card uses the drug.

      The 9th Circuit in its 3-0 decision said Congress reasonably concluded that marijuana and other drug use “raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”

      The court also concluded that it’s reasonable for federal regulators to assume a medical marijuana card holder was more likely to use the drug.

      Wilson’s attorney, Chaz Rainey, said there needs to be more consistency in the application of the Second Amendment. He planned to appeal.

      “We live in a world where having a medical marijuana card is enough to say you don’t get a gun, but if you’re on the no fly list your constitutional right is still protected,” he said.

      The 9th Circuit also rejected other constitutional challenges to the ban that were raised by Wilson, including her argument that her gun rights were being stripped without due process.

      Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the idea that marijuana users were more prone to violence is a fallacy.

      “Responsible adults who use cannabis in a manner that is compliant with the laws of their states ought to receive the same legal rights and protections as other citizens,” he said.

  • I think its great that Little communicated with the public on this issue.

    If the concern is the environment than get the information to the public so the people can make better choices, bravo.

    I also appreciate his desires to retire and fish locally with hope of catching some.

    But still, in the 80’s when the first army fatigued officers in helicopters dropped out of the sky and into Humbolt backyards there was no “mega grows” and no environmental degradation (other than that of the typical emerald triangle low income pile-up of trash unrelated to weed). It was 10-60 plants mixed with trees.

    And a war was waged…

    I very much share concerns about the integrity of our environment but I also won’t forget history.

    • Right on! I looked up from my dishpan to see Men in Camo dropping into my neighbor’s back yard! We were terrorized. Later, a theft occurred in the same area which we hired a PI to trace….and he did….right back to the helicopter pilot and friends.
      The owners had had their door kicked in at 2 am, stripped naked, tied up, and dowsed with lighter fluid…the PI said he didn’t “dare” take his investigation further. Word.
      We’ll never forget this either. af

      • So much violence for the medicine

      • There’s a few so called private companies that are like private security for this and they are known for doing this

      • Whoa.glad you weren’t hurt.sounds like a movie,or video game.

      • Woo so wrong this is the kind of terrorism happening to the good people that are out there trying to escape all the bullshit. Sad. As our elderly sell out to often foreign investors with nothing but money in their minds because they can’t sleep at night and panick when they here a helicopter. This disaster is being caused by poor management of a potentially good industry. There are farmers who do care about the environment but they are being scared away fast.

    • And, of course there are so many stories of water lines cut by CAMP et al, which caused bad erosion, etc, by emptying water tanks on hillsides and other inappropriate places. Not to lessen the damage done by inconsiderate growers, we must remember the many abuses to the land by the authorities.

  • Little makes the comparison between marijuana operations and timber operations. When was the last time DFG and the combined agencies raided a timber operation with M16’s and helicopters and confiscated all the logs? No, they just issue citations and occasionally suspend a THP to gain compliance. Seems like LEO is still just using DFG and DWS laws as pretext to justify their military style raids and confiscations. State sponsored terrorism??

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      Yes, and those who have been around for a while and actually visited old logging sites know that the degradation of poorly regulated logging was far worse than the bad pot grows in aggregate damage to the environment.

    • Yeah! Why didn’t they take their logs!!! 🙁 shut up, you are a fool to not see the difference between a majority of punk ass growers, Mexican cartels, and Bulgarians, compared to some loggers.

  • Not all “illeagal” excavation work is damage. Yes done without permits. But if done correctly can actually help the environment. Fixing drainage issues and such. The grading permit is a joke, county takes an engineers letter that it’s all good. Most engineers dont even come look at the excavation process or the finished product.

  • Id like to ask about the environmental impact of diverting the Eel river to the Russian river. Not that logging,escavating and chemicals isnt bad. Cant blame growers alone for the condition of the river. Clear cutting redwoods is still happening, and thats still effecting streams and rivers no doubt.

  • Very nice public communication. This is how it should work. Informing the public on what they are doing & why. I hope people take heart to what this man has said & become stewards of land as opposed to just profiteers. It’s not too late for the green rushers to learn how to do it right. Thanks for taking the time to inform the public and keep up the good work protecting our waterways and environment.

  • Water quality concerns killed the “liquidation logging” in our area, and now its time to get rid of the hoopsters. Putting all your plants on drip and then pretending that all of that green water pooling in your garden is a good thing is going to close you down. Hand water. Hand fertilize. Oh thats too much work for you. Bye bye now.

    • Right on.

      Btw, how’d we end up with the same name? Ok, I see you use a cap. letter.

      And I do agree with your post above.

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      Dude, put all your plants in large, wide containers. Put all pots, if you can, on wooden pallets that eventually bio-degrade. Raised pots allow for excellent drainage, reduce entry of critters and pathogens, eliminate foreign root invasion into your drain holes. Observe the amount of drainage on your timing regimen. Adjust timing to allow a little water to drain, that’s enough. If you only have one or two pallets, let them be your guide. Voila! Minimal environmental impact.

      Hand-watering and fertilizing is very satisfying and accurate for a P215 garden, but a bit tedious even for a moderate-sized commercial garden, but hey, who am I to judge? Knock yourself out.

    • But drip lines use way less water also. I don’t think they are the problem.Imagine a small repetitive drip going deep into the soil over an hour or two, and then imagine a grow bro w a hose blasting water all over the place and most of the water running off. But I agree the hoopsters are a blight…

    • “Putting all your plants on drip and then pretending that all of that green water pooling in your garden is a good thing is going to close you down. ”

      Avoid overfertilization, turn your drip down to an appropriate rate, and put it on a timer, and there should be no “pooling” of “green water.” Drip irrigation can be (and should be) at least as efficient as even proper hand-watering and way more efficient than the way most folks seem to (over) hand-water.

  • Yes C☆! People on the Russian River are hardly aware that there is a drought! Just think about what the Eel would look like if the water was not diverted! Always plenty of water for wine though…

    • Patriotinwillits

      The water diversion doesn’t just go to vineyards. It’s a major source of drinking water and other non agricultural uses. Also, Sonoma County has the water rights to most of Lake Mendocino. Don’t imagine they’ll give that up too readily.

      • Without the Potter Valley Diversion there would be no full Lake Mendocino. You’re correct that the water is not just used for vineyards, it’s has been used to fuel the growth in the Russian river basin. That’s why they have fought so hard to stymie any effort to curtail the diversion.

      • Actually the water rights to that diversion was recently up for renewal. And Sonoma county was trying to get it last I checked. I’m not sure where they are in the process dare I say humboldt should have made a bid on that water and cut the reversion off. But that would never happen. Wine has lots of votes and money and longests at this point and a quasi legal industry has no organization that would alow for this kind of buy.

  • Prophet or profit

    Kinda silly when they are clear cutting redwoods still… guess they have the proper paper work though… silky humans. Everyone’s in it for a profit.

  • One time an elderly resident here said “if the hippies really cared about up here, they’d chain themselves to the Iron Gate to protest the water diversions”…. nothing’s changed in the last 20 years but the hippies are all older and the photo op would probably not be as cute… just sayin’

  • There’s lots of players in this game.lots of different things are at play.poisons,low water run off of chemical’s.drought,trash people’s person toilets.we really.cant blame logging because that’s all but gone.its everything Time has caught up.

  • Had an idiot land partner myself once. He didn’t like the way I wouldn’t let him tear up the property and just try to put grows up everywhere. So he ditched the place in the middle of winter left me with all the land payments and taxes for 8 years then decides to come back on the property and tear everything up. Grow for profit tax free buying trucks and equipment. He has smoked like one joint in his life. Then when asked to pay rent or be responsible. Reminded please do not tear the land up he just freaks out and blocks all the culverts destroys the road sometimes people can be real jerks! So if people are ripping it up yes they should be freaking responsible for their bad actions!

  • Thank you for this thoughtful thread, not (yet) reeking of discharge from the usual garbage heads. Hopefully my comments will add something worthwhile. Many years ago when there was a different sheriff, a raid occurred on adjoining property which a friend recently had sold. During the raid a large diesel spill occurred. The former owner asked me and another neighbor to have a look, since he was afraid he was about to lose his shirt. The spill, which we photographed, was obviously intentionally caused by the deputies. I therefore called the Water Board, Fish and Game, and Humboldt Environmental Health. Some of these agencies sent reps. All agreed the sheriff had done this and took pictures. The County charged the perps with the spill. I and another person submitted depositions and photos as to what we had seen and done. A person in government told me off the record they knew the sheriff’s office was doing this kind of thing. Now that it was on the table and could blow up in the sheriff’s face, back room discussion was held. An agreement was secured that henceforth Environmental Health would be called in on spills and the sheriff would cease being the cause of them. Those charges against the perps were dropped, much to their relief. One of the seized generators was hauled out leaking a trail of diesel all the many miles to the freeway. When a Deputy District Attorney relayed that members of the public had complained of this, the supervising deputy sergeant yelled, “They can kiss my ass.” I am not naming anyone here because the sheriff’s office has shown abundant good faith in improving their style. For that they deserve respect.

    • Yes they were known to do this when they found large diesel tanks. Similar to how they do with water tanks, but much nastier.

  • The potter valley diversion does not significantly alter summer flows on the main fork of the Eel river and it has zero effect on the south fork of the eel because that is a different river. Seems to be a common misconception that if we got rid of the dam the river would be healthy.

    • It does effect the main fork that is a gross misconception. There use to be summer runs of fish… Not any more they use to have barges come up the river.

  • that picture is old it wasn’t a bust from 2016, that was a last year bust.

  • Dyerville Loop is Not Alderpoint

    Readbooks, you state that the ” PGE diversion in Potter Valley does not significantly alter the summer flows on the main fork of the Eel river”. Every single drop that is removed effects “THE”river.Ever stop and figure out how many drops are in a gallon?And yes it is “THE ” same river, they join at Southfork. This sad argument is so old it breaks my heart. Try washing your hair or flushing your toilet with “ONE” drop of water. And, i really hate wording like” common misconception”. It alludes to the notion that were all ignorant and supposed to know better. If you claim to say that any river with “less” water is , uh, well, uh, better, your as full of it as the Sonoma Co, water board is full of greed. Funny how fish seem to like water. Now that is a “known” fact. Now for your homework smartybooks. How many drops of water in a gallon , and how many drops of fresh water does a salmon need in a life time before its gills get clogged with dirt and mites and goes belly up? And let me guess , ille bet you live in potter valley.. Whine any one with your alfalfa salad?

    • The summer flow of the Eel river is not affected by the diversion of water to the Russian river. Though unless you live off of 100% stored winter rain water, the Eel is affected by your consumption on Dyerville Loop

      The water diverted from the Eel is water that was saved from winter’s high flows. During the summer the dam releases a rate of flow out of it and down Eel river that is equal to or greater than the natural flow.

      The dams do cut off spawning grounds to salmon and steelhead.

      http://www.pottervalleywater.org/facts-fiction.html

    • The Potter Valley project claims that they store water in the winter and release water in “late summer at rates roughly mimicking or exceeding natural flows.” My point is taking down the dams is not going to change the fact that the Eel River is in terrible condition. And the South Fork of the Eel River would look exactly the same as it does now because there are no dams on the South Fork. You may be aware of that fact but a surprising number of people aren’t.

  • winter rains provide water to flush the rivers from summer silt, etc

  • Right now construction workers are dumping all that dirt from the big French slide which is like the whole slide of a mountain right into the trinity river.Its been going on a year now with lots more to go.To me that’s way worse than any grading for a grow.How are they allowed to do this.Stuff like this is going on everywhere.But the growers will take the blame even though growers have done more upgrades to these shit hole towns than any other people in history.With out these growers these towns would be full of tweekers alcoholic loggers trashing up the place..But that’s just my view.

  • How are they educated and qualified enough to measure if it’s for profit or not.Even if it is.they should have to prove that and give the owner of the garden time to dispute that or make changes . obviously the garden hasn’t generated profit if it’s still in the dirt.Fish and game are taking advantage of people out here with thier don’t need a warrant attitudes.This laws that says they don’t need a warrant was designed for them searching for poaching and was not geared for cultivation searches.Face it growers aren’t hurting the wildlife.growers like wildlife probably more than the fish and game and people in the woods guard and protect public land more than they could ever do.i know I always keep my eye out in my area for tweekers dumping trash or damaging the area and I’m always picking up trash from non grower people.

  • F&Game guys aren’t always the angels they pretend to be. A friend of mine was held at gunpoint by one who said how much the growers were ruining “his” county. Pulled up his 25 plants, vandalized the water system. Wrote up felony cultivation, it cost them 20 grand to fight it in court. The warden went into court and lied his ass off. Claimed a tiny spring 1/4 mile from a small non blueline creek was water diversion, lied about it’s location and called it a tributary to the creek. Some of these guys hate the “hippies” and are delighted to use environmental laws against you. They have all the power of a cop and more. As the article says, they can just say, as they did with my friend, that they were responding to a complaint. No warrant. The article says they have walked away from 4 or 5 gardens. Out of how many?

  • Dewayne Little said, “Mostly [we have] no ground intel–we respond to complaints from primarily citizens and local agencies. Also violations seen from the air.”

    Apparently, no one from F & W has flown into or out of the Dinsmore Airport this season since there is a ridiculous sized grow op located right on the Van Duzen River adjacent to the airport which they have yet to address! They bought the place in March of this year with a down payment of 200k and almost immediately brought in the heavy equipment. When the winter rains hit, their compound will be entirely under water. Good luck trying to control any runoff of sediment, pesticides, fertilizer, diesel fuel, etc…….

    • oh boy.. no kidding

      • On the other side of the river from these growers/abusers is the Dinsmore Store. The people running the Dinsmore Store should be talked to as well, since the new owners have decided to take water from a well located on the river bar and just go ahead and sell it to growers in the area. All day, every day filling up their truck many, many times. Just how much water do they drain from the river??? Making a profit off of the natural resources in the area is entirely different from stocking a store for the purpose of reselling. This thievery needs to be stopped!!!

  • Well, this question is a bit off-topic but maybe it’s on, too. I’m curious about it and maybe someone knows.

    Years ago, they used to have some sort of asset forfeiture in place. Something like you got busted for growing and they– the DA or HCSO– took all your stuff, including your property, which they sold. I don’t think they do that anymore, do they? Now they cut everything down, seize the guns and goods, and you have to go to court. Was there a change in the law where you don’t lose your property? I’m guessing it was both unconstitutional and draconian?

  • Is this law Rainwater Capture Act of 2012 still in effect? We have harvested water for over 30 years. It is really easy once you are set up and will be amazed how much there is going down that downspout.

    Californians may now legally capture and use rainwater harvested from rooftops. Departing from Western states’ long-standing tradition of making it illegal to capture and use precipitation based on the prior appropriation doctrine, the California Legislature enacted and Governor Brown signed the “Rainwater Capture Act of 2012” [2012 Cal. Stats. ch. 537, Sec. 2.] (the Act). The Act exempts the capture and use of rainwater from rooftops from the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) permitting authority over appropriations of water. This development affords residential users and private and public entities with a new source of on-site water supply, which should reduce reliance on potable water for landscaping needs and provide a recharge benefit to underlying groundwater aquifers.

  • PG, E’s Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project

    Dams Presentation

    Click above for a Friends of the Eel River flash presentation on the history and impact of the Potter Valley Project Dams on the Eel and Russian Rivers!

    The mouth of the Eel River, the third-largest river in California, is nearly two hundred miles north of the mouth of the Russian River, yet high up at the rivers’ headwaters, only two miles naturally separates these two rivers. In 1908 humans breached that separation, completing a diversion tunnel to link the two river systems. Eel River water travels through this tunnel to turn turbines to generate electricity below, in Potter Valley. DamsAfter being used for this purpose, Eel River water is released to flow into the East Fork of the Russian River.
    The complex of facilities (including dams, reservoirs, tunnel, and machinery) used to store water and generate electricity is currently owned by PG&E and is known collectively as “The Potter Valley Project” (PVP). The Potter Valley Project has been characterized in a Sonoma County Water Agency Report as “not economic as a hydroelectric project.” Furthermore, the dams have contributed to the collapse of the Eel River salmon populations which once “supported runs of salmon and steelhead trout that were estimated to exceed one-half million fish” (Dept. Fish and Game 2001, p. 57).
    Details

    Cape HornCape Horn Dam was built in 1908 creating the Van Arsdale Reservoir to move water from the Eel River down a mile long diversion tunnel to Potter Valley on the Russian River and create electricity for the city of Ukiah. 5 cubic feet per second is allowed over 50′ high Cape Horn Dam into the Eel River – not enough for fish to survive. Natural late summer flows are 50 to 55 cubic feet per second. Cape Horn Dam was built without a fish ladder and cut off hundreds of stream miles in prime spawning grounds for the largest of the Eel River salmonids. A fish ladder was finally built in 1922 as part of the permit to built Scott Dam. Fish migrating here travel more than 800 hundred river miles and climb 4,500 feet.

    Scott Dam

    Diversion Tunnel: This tunnel diverts Eel River sending it south into the Russian River. Eel River water is sold as far south as Marin by the Sonoma County Water Agency, while fish struggle to survive in the shallow water of the Eel River.
    Scott Dam (1922), 130′ high, forms Lake Pillsbury and holds 80,560 acre-feet of water. The area upstream of the dam, which salmon are prevented from accessing, contains roughly 10% of the watershed and includes prime spawning and rearing habitat. Lake Pillsbury acts as an incubator for the invasive pikeminnow which prey on juvenile salmonids.
    Articles & Links

    March 17, 2009
    Comments on Draft Environmental Assessment for Application of Amendment of License for Diversion of Water at Lake Pillsbury (Potter Valley Project)
    Sonoma County Progress and Problems
    by David Keller, Bay Area Director, FOER – June 1, 2006
    While Sonoma County still appears to be on a trajectory for water system collapse, some exciting progress is being made on water consumption and ending reliance on Eel River diversions through the Potter Valley Project.
    A Tale of Two Rivers
    The Russian, the Eel and why you should care about both every single time you turn on a tap
    By R.V. Scheide

    Friends of the Eel River’s Vision: Salmon, Free Flow & Restoration

    An Expert Speaks Out Against the Potter Valley Project
    Robert R. Curry, PhD
    DAMS! The chess game…
    display panel from FOER’s educational outreach Fish Tent.
    About Rivers and Dams
    International Rivers Network

    Economic Reports

    Two reports prepared by The Center For Environmental Economic Development (CEED) for FOER.

    A River in the Balance: Benefits and Costs of Restoring Natural Water Flows to the Eel River
    This study examines the downriver impacts on salmon and other market and non-market values related to restoration of natural water flows to the Eel River. (PDF)

    Economic Benefits to Mendocino and Lake Counties from Removing the Dams on the Eel River
    This report focuses on the benefits to Mendocino and Lake Counties from removal of dams on the Eel River. (PDF)
    http://eelriver.org/about/potter-valley-project-dams/

  • I think it’s funny how weed was hacked and slashed in the 80s because it was deemed a dangerous drug and then people realized it’s a harmless high like caffeine, only the opposite. Once the government could no longer fool the public they changed their grievances to ” environmental damage ” what happens next ?

    • I agree and I observed this change. Yes I railed against mega-grows and environmental destruction from this green rush with friends in local environmental groups that I came to know when we all worked to stop destructive overlogging and restore blown-out watersheds. I complained that the Humboldt County Sheriff was not doing anything and our DA Gallegos was facilitating the blow- up of grows through his inaction and public statements of allowing 99 plants for medical. Green Diamond land was being subdivided quickly. People were piling into here and every available parcel was getting a grow, many of them newcomers w no knowledge or concern for the land/watershed/rivers. All if this could have been addressed under existing law w/ the sheriff chopping down the biggest and baddest. ThaT would have sent the message that we were actually NOT open for business in that way. My environmental friends – who had heartily backed Gallegos- did not want to appear publicly anti- marijuana. But they latched onto this “environmental” enforcement as a way to address the issue. So it got them on the boat w/ this new approach of permits/regulation/fines. This new approach has provided cover for many others who also wanted to control/eradicate. Big-time money can now wrest control of the scene because they can meet the ever-higher costs of permits/fees/taxes/code requirements. Politicians are on board because they collect money while appearing benevolent. Paper-pushers and engineers are loving it. My old friends? They talk in private about how it will be good to see people NOT being out there on all those 40s and there will be an opportunity to consolidate many pieces into wildlife habitat preservation. Really. Anybody w/ a college degree can see the result of this agenda. Oh and the media? Reporting police reports as a story? I am sure not every bust is as bad as it seems but we will never know that. Environmental damage reports are today’s version of plant counts from CAMP days. The more they lie the more public support and funding they get! But again- I am glad to finally see some shutdown of terrible grows. I’m just sad we didn’t do it to preserve the mom n pops….we are now seeing it as a precursor to the deliverance of the industry to well-monied interests. .

  • Pingback: Fish and Wildlife Lieutenant Talks Raids in Humboldt–Who Gets Raided and Why | The Industry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *