Fish and Wildlife to Provide $1.3 Million to Clean up Illegal Cannabis Sites–Usal, Bull Creek, and Whitethorn Grove Included

Trash from a 2015 marijuana grow that was cleaned up by Integral Ecology Research Center.

Trash from a 2015 marijuana grow that was cleaned up by Integral Ecology Research Center. [Photo provided by Integral Ecology Research Center]

Press release from the Department of Fish and Wildlife:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of four projects to receive funding for habitat restoration projects within California’s Northern Coastal watersheds most impacted by unregulated cannabis cultivation.

The awards, totaling $1.3 million, were made under CDFW’s Cannabis Restoration Grant Program, and will support cleanup and habitat restoration at inactive cannabis cultivation sites.

“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.”

Projects approved for funding through the Cannabis Restoration Grant Program include:

Reclaiming our Public Lands and Watersheds from the Environmental Threats of Trespass Cannabis Cultivation ($1,068,415 to Integral Ecology Research Center);
Bull Creek Cannabis Recovery Project ($94,510 to Eel River Watershed Improvement Group);
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.).
Projects funded under the 2017 Cannabis Restoration Program are scheduled to commence in early 2018.

The Cannabis Restoration Grant Program was established by CDFW in 2017 in response to legislation aimed at regulating the burgeoning legal cannabis industry. In his signing message to Assembly Bill 243 (Wood, Medical Marijuana), Governor Brown directed, “the Natural Resources Agency to identify projects to begin the restoration of our most impacted areas in the state.”

“I have seen firsthand the devastation to the watersheds caused by these rogue cannabis growers,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood, 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.”

General information about CDFW’s Cannabis Restoration Grant Program can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Watersheds/Cannabis-Restoration-Grant.

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28 comments

  • Whatever happened to those $10,000 a day fines?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Great question! The poorly-thought-out program was suspended. The main guy Ford is apologizing to the people he sent letters to. The county has been threatened w/ lawsuits- I think “selective enforcement” (only 3 distinct areas were targeted) would be easy to prove. There will be no more letters. In response everybody will blow it up even bigger next year. Our supervisors are corrupt idiots and should all be proscuted for what they’ve done. And those last 2 sentences are my opinion, not fact….The state will begin their own eradication program next year and it will be way more intense than CAMP ever was. They are being pressured to do so by large permitted growers such as Alex Moore from Honeydew Farms and Emerald Scamily and of course King Oaksterscammer himself Steve DeAngelo. Wonderful people!

  • Bluehaired Hillbetty

    Aghhh I need to go to bed, but this is ridiculous. My hard earned taxes to clean up illegal grows? I am sick,sick ,sick of this industry.

  • $10,000.00 a day fines for abandoned guerilla grows? Who ya gonna bill?

    • It remains an unanswered question however. It was big headlines a couple of weeks ago. It WAS about the cleanup process.
      I want to know if the fines were levied, and who complied. Don’t you?

      • there is no RP or code to enforce on Public land, which this money is for as stated. the headlines should have stated “trespass grow”.

      • The fines from the building dept were for nuisance abatement. Or put another way, regular growers who didn’t sign up for permits. Not trashy guerilla grows on public land, which is what’s being discussed here. The 10k fines were imposed in order to punish people who didn’t choose to go down the route of getting permitted.
        I’m sure you know the area well enough to understand the huge difference between the two.

  • MORE TAX DOLLARS TO CLEAN UP JAILED GROWERS MISTAKES, KEEP ON PUFFIN.

  • $1,5mil with the government in charge, they will get the 3 named and one other. That much money I could do them all. Jerks. How about this, use the ones busted for this as free labor.

  • In the Corporate world, the model is to “internalize profits and externalize the cost”; from big oil to wall street, you think the black market underground economy is any different? They all use public funding to clean up their destruction . How come they don’t use the con-camp to clean it up, they use them for wildfires, why not “Cannabis Restoration”?

    Look how many decades they’ve been being paid to cleaning up after bad logging practices, wonder how long they will be paid for this cleanup. It’s only the beginning…

  • This money is no doubt from my licence and tag fees that I pay to be able to have the opportunity to harvest a deer every 2-3 years , a couple of quail, and some crab. Now they give this $$ away to clean up a dope pushers mess after they poisoned the creeks and killed off all the deer. I think I see a problem.

  • Bag the growers, take the crops, fine the crap out of them, use the proceeds to restore. This is only fair… Be sure to go over the sites with metal detectors, to find the buried Krugerrands!

    I don’t care how much weed you grow with a permit, on your owned or leased property, as long as you pay your permits, obey all environmental and employment law, and pay all attendant business, employment, and income taxes! No problem at all!

    Real involvement in legally conducted business and competition, is what Humboldt needs, not pirate and black market grows.

    If you can’t play by the rules, move your ass somewhere else!

    • The rules are a scam meant to benefit a select group of scammers… if its on your land and under an acre, fuckouttahere…so unamerican the “permitted mega-grow” scam

      Shit is as legal as salad and about as harmful

  • Yet the behavior police are universally silent about the purchasers of such products. They might rail about fair trade, assault people over non organic foods, express outrage at -gasp- meat eaters but pot? Total silence.

    Do you know where your pot comes from? It it certified as having been grown by those who respect the Earth? Have you picketed the houses of smokers of anti evironmentally grown pot to shame them publicly? Have you voted the ethically grown only pot ticket? Do you grow your own without poisons such as fungicides and inorganic fertilizers? Do you limit your consumption to need only so as not to overburden resources?

    Or are you the hypocritics as you label so many others when it’s your personal indulgences in question?

  • Now we just need 1.3 billion to get started cleaning up the disasters that conventional agriculture have caused in California.

  • Topanga wheelie racer😂

    Lets not twist the truth here, this is taxpayers money thats being provided unless i missed this department generating their own income,..

  • unbridled phillistine

    Fish and game are the last people who should be in charge of protecting the the landscape! They have over managed every water way in the state! Where were they when these dams were going in? Disgusting. The coast used to be a world class salmon fishery. Let cal wildlife manage the mosquito, So they too will become scarce. Tulelake comes to mind.

  • About time some of that crap got cleaned up.

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