Large Trespass Marijuana Grow Cleaned Up
Press release from Integral Ecology Research Center:
In the summer of 2017, a large public land trespass marijuana cultivation complex was discovered on the Six Rivers National Forest within the Yolla Bolly – Middle Eel Wilderness managed by the United States Forest Service. The complex was named Jones Ridge and comprised seven distinct growing plots spanning over a mile in length (Figure 1), and 3 individual sites each with camps and associated growing plots and infrastructure. The complex was quickly eradicated by federal, state and local Law Enforcement in summer 2017 to disrupt the continued misuse of these public lands.
Research scientists from IERC visited the complex to document and ascertain the magnitude of impacts that these trespass grows caused. During initial documentation of the site, an estimated several thousand feet of irrigation line, numerous substantial water diversions, thousands of pounds of fertilizer and over 90 pounds of pesticides were recorded. The sites were placed on a high-priority list for documentation and reclamation by IERC and USFS due to these factors. Reclamation operations were conducted April 19 and 20, 2018.
The complex lies within tributaries of the North Fork Eel River, a Hydrological Unit with a population of the sensitive salmonid, spring-run chinook and a population of federally listed coho salmon. This complex is less than one kilometer from United States Fish and Wildlife Service delineated Critical Habitat for the northern spotted owl that is listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Finally, ongoing research conducted by Integral Ecology Research Center has documented the protected species fisher (Pekania pennanti) and ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) in the grow site complex. Cattle under a grazing allotment also heavily use this area.
Governmental: United States Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations (USFS-LEI), California Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division (CDFW-LED), United States Forest Service Fire Staff (USFS), Trinity County Resource Conservation District (TCRCD), Trinity County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO)
Non-Governmental: Integral Ecology Research Center (IERC), The Watershed Research and Training Center (WRTC), Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF)
Reclamation Organizers: Drs. Mourad Gabriel and Greta Wengert (IERC)
Support: Logistical and financial support was contributed by the above-mentioned entities. Specific funding for the reclamation of this trespass marijuana cultivation complex was provided by CDFW Cannabis Restoration Program Grant and a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation grant to IERC.
Trespass sites cleaned: One large complex encompassing three distinct sites
Location of sites: Six Rivers National Forest, Yolla Bolly – Middle Eel Wilderness
Watershed impacted: North Fork Eel River
Personnel: 53 Total; IERC (7), WRTC (5), TCRCD (6), CDFW (6), USFS (21), RMEF (4), TCSO (4)
Total water diversions restored to watersheds: Five reservoirs and water diversions totaling 2.9 million gallons of water annually.
Amount of soluble fertilizer used on site: 2,050 lb
Amount of pesticides used on site: 91.3 lb
Grow site trash and infrastructure removed during reclamation: ~4500 lb
Irrigation pipe removed during reclamation: ~ 1 mile (5,280 ft)
Long-line loads of trash removed: 16 loads (Total long-line flight time = 1.8 hrs)
Average net load drop time: 6.75 minutes per net load