‘Come Into Compliance,’ Says State Water Board as It Offers Several Options

Water and marijuanaOn October 5, 174 notices of violation from the State Water Resources Control Board were sent out certified mail to residents of the Salmon Creek watershed in Southern Humboldt County. Over the next week, the thick stacks of letters dwindled as worried neighbors signed and took home their notices.

The letters stated that a property owned by the recipient was a “recent, or active cannabis cultivation site.” The recipient was told that before cultivation they are required to obtain several types of “cannabis regulatory coverage.”

Several of the recipients told us they received the letters in error–some of those include ranchers whose neighbors were growing close to their property line, people with hoop houses for vegetable starts, and those in the permit process already.

Robert Cervantes, Senior Engineer at State Water Resources Control Board, and Taro Murano, a Supervisor with the agency, are hoping they can help those who got the letter either come into compliance or show that they were never out of compliance.

Those who received the notice sent on October 5 only have until November 5 to make what Cervantes called “a good faith effort” to get their issues resolved.

The letter recipients have several options available, the two men stressed. One is to come to a Cannabis Cultivation Permitting Workshop at the Mateel Community Center in Redway on October 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Murano explained they will deal with each person who received the Notices of Violation “on a case by case basis.” He said, “We want to be engaged by those who have received the notice. Call or come on 30th.” He said even if the people who received the notices can’t fix the issues in the time provided, they need to contact the Water Board to explain what steps they are going to take.

“You need to contact us,” he emphasized.

“We are going to do our honest best to get folks to get registered,” Cervantes said. “We are trying to get people legit…We are going to have tables set up with employees to clear up their letters…There will be tables with computers set up.” He explained that people can work on a one to one basis with employees to deal with their site-specific concerns.

At the workshop, those with violation letters can receive help getting their State Water Board Small Irrigation Use Registration and apply for coverage under the Cannabis Cultivation General Order. Here’s a helpful checklist of information to bring.

There are other options besides the meeting on Tuesday to work with the Water Board. “Our main goal is to offer options for compliance,” Cervantes said.

A link that allows anyone to set up a phone appointment for the Cannabis Small Irrigation Use Registration is here: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/cannabis/

Or cultivators can obtain their water quality permits and water rights here: https://public2.waterboards.ca.gov/cgo

“We’ll be in Fortuna on Nov 8 from 2pm – 7pm to present our cannabis cultivation policy revisions and answer questions from the crowd,” Cervantes explained. 

He said they are wanting people to succeed in the process of becoming compliant. “We want to use our enforcement resources on those who are doing egregious damage,” he insisted.

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Didn’t get a letter yet?

“The State Water Resource Control Board (State Water Board) in coordination with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) have identified “Cannabis Priority Watersheds” throughout the state that are of special environmental concern and are at increased risk of environmental impacts due to cannabis cultivation activities.”

Take a look at the priority watersheds here:
https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/cannabis/california_priority_watersheds.html

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37 comments

  • the growers clamored for legalization for years and now they are getting what they asked for. how humorous. the sad thing is that it is already too late for the fish and wildlife of the eel river watershed. this is your govt at work. it has to feed itself continually, however ineffectually.

    • I don’t know of too many growers that were clamoring for legalization. I think that it was consumers like myself that wanted to see it treated like alcohol but that didn’t quite work out.

    • Wait till the water board comes after whatever you are doing. Most rural businesses could never comply to these regulations. Their plan is to get everyone to stop living in the hills

  • The burden of proof has shifted disproportionately.

    • yeah what do you have to invite them out to your house and pay a surveyor to show them that you didnt do anything wrong? another example of guilty until proven innocent, welcome to the new age. and then they wonder why people are so upset at their government

    • Don’t we still have a justice system? Aren’t some of these letters arbitrary and moot without proof? I disdnt get a letter, but I feel like going to the meeting just to pin these guys down with some questions. I believe Kym or loco quoted an attorney who sat in on the abate the abatement meeting. He seems to believe that a picture of a greenhouse isn’t just cause for fines or a warrant.

  • Is everyone ready to get ‘waterboarded’ lol. So what is the difference between a ‘small irrigation permit’ and a ‘cannabis irrigation permit’? Oh nothing except for ‘cannabis’, and $350 more every year, Ridiculous. So what are they gonna do if you get a ‘small irrigation permit’ and use it on cannabis? By the way, if you have a spring, and it doesn’t leave your property you are exempt. You have to ‘prove’ it.. but you do not have to pay them every year… which is basically as much money as paying a municipality, and they do nothing for that. So why are you paying the water tortures every year?

  • Can’t even use water on your own property. Dam. Goverment control has come to the hills. Can’t even take a crap on your on land ( outhouse ). Next on the bill for California is they are gonna tax you for burning firewood, yes , no joke. You are not free. New world slave. Don’t worry though, the Federal People Management Agency will save you.

  • We’re among those who don’t cultivate but received abatement notices. The day after receiving the letters we sent photos with GIS and date info to the board and received an ‘acknowledgement of receipt.’ No one at the Water Board has said how they will evaluate proof of a recipient’s non-cultivation–their error–nor how long it will take for them to send verification that they have accepted your proof. Kym, if you would, please ask that question next time you talk to Cervantes or another official. It’s nerve-wracking that someone with poor quality imaging hundreds of miles away is threatening people with fines and harassment.

  • Blatant bureaucratic overreach. Extra judicial levying of punishment is a violation of due process, not to mention conscription people’s time to prove their innocence.

    Can you imagine if the CHP sent out blanket speeding tickets, justified by the fact you have a car, and make you prove you haven’t sped.

    I don’t have a have anything hinged on this specifically, but the erosion of the free republic by the bureacracies is going to bite us all, eventually.

  • Rain water is exempt.It doesn’t require a permit to store and no fee.Rain water is any water
    off any structure,even a road or sheet water that has not entered a stream.Listen to the last tom and charlie
    show on kmud…think it was thurs the 11th at 700 pm

  • We also received an abatement notice for a neighbor’s greenhouse appearing to be across our boundary. We are also non-growers and already have a water permit, which was suggested but not demanded when we did a lot-line adjustment, to protect our riparian rights with the state.

    Apparently, the problem is that the water board has to fit flat parcel maps to a curved Google Earth image, which can put the property lines up to 400 ft off. This was our situation plus we were obviously in no way connected to the grow. By talking to the assessors office and the water board, we got them to reviewed our claim and retracted the notice. Go talk to them at the meeting, they will try to work with you.

  • State Water Board is vague. Lets have names and Oaths of Office with a Bond that covers the Oath of Office -both recorded into the public records.

    2017 Oroville Dam collapse:

    Of concern: State officials appear not to have entered the spillway channel during the last two inspections in 2015 and 2016, according to records. “Any inspection you do from a great distance,” Kells said, “I would have to question that.”

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/17/oroville-dam-what-made-the-spillway-collapse/

  • All the God-King Waterboard requires is this: a simple offering of earth and water. A token of Your submission to the will of Waterboard

  • Sure! Come on down!! You’re the next contestant at their…… ENTRAPMENT WORKSHOP!!
    Give ’em your parcel number, your name, business name, etc. Oh. And duck into the backroom for a little DNA swab and body cavity search! ……Gotta PROVE you got rights!

  • Time for regime change

    Time to vote out those representing us formally.remember who was in office when these violations to our rights took place on election day,also it might send a message to the new people in office what happens when you can’t respect the voters!!!! And vote no on o people!!! Has this county government shown us there to be trusted with our money/lives/property rights/rights as American citizens/future and well being?????

  • Time for regime change

    Time to vote out those representing us formally.remember who was in office when these violations to our rights took place on election day,also it might send a message to the new people in office what happens when you can’t respect the voters!!!! And vote no on o people!!! Has this county government shown us there to be trusted with our money/lives/property rights/rights as American citizens/future and well being?????

  • The burden of proof lies on him who asserts the fact, not on him who denies it, because from the very nature of things a negative cannot be proof.

    This is the law in every court of our land. It is also a key to winning in a court of law, for decisions courts are called upon to make are always subject to this maxim. The burden of proof is a critical issue in every
    dispute.

    The burden is always on the person who seeks to prove his point. The other party does not have a burden to disprove his opponent’s point.

    It is remarkable how few people are aware of this simple truth, yet every victory in court depends on it. If the other side says you did something wrong, you don’t have to prove you didn’t do it. The other side has to prove you did. Put the burden where it ought to be.

    The burden may shift from one party to the other in a dispute. For example, the first party may complain that the second party failed to pay a bill. At this point the first party has the burden to prove his point. The second party may then say he did pay the bill. At this point the second party now has the burden to prove the bill was paid. The burden may shift back and forth at various times, depending on who is claiming what, but always the burden is on the party who must prove his point.

    • it would be nice if this were still true. here is an example of the new way things work. when you get a speeding ticket you arent allowed to fight it on your court date. you actually have to pay the fine in full up front then you can put yourself back on calendar to try to fight it and if you win then the judge decides how much of the fine to reimburse you with (some maybe all if you are lucky)

  • Supervisors the problem

    More,more,more. That’s what they want constantly$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Don’t they know that the wells run dry. There 5 years too late!!!!! Vote no on measure o let’s grab some back from them

  • 17 more months of the unlawful “Countywide” , “And Other Essential Necessities”, million-a-month, meas. z.

  • On a big news day this may be THE most important news. They will send letters of violations and threaten you with huge civil fines if you have property within a “critical watershed”. Doesn’t matter if it’s your neighbor growing, or an old grow from years ago, or even not a grow at all! they want to “be inclusive” so now you have to spend time and money fighting them to prove the non-existence of this so-called grow that maybe was never on your property?!! Yes. That’s what is happening. I suspect that being suspected by the water board should open you up to a warrantless search from Fish and Game- who will also be “protecting and serving” by investigating your property for a possible grow that…uses water!! If the water comes from a spring on your property and does not flow to a blue-line creek it was formerly your water…but now you must register it and pay an annual fee- even if you only use it to grow tomatoes or brush your teeth. Yes. No exaggeration. These people must be stopped. The North Coast Water Quality Control Board and Fish and Game are the enemy of the free people. This is not about weed anymore….I have no problem with legitimate weed busting and chipping. This is something else and it stinks of corruption and fascism.

    • This isn’t the north coast regional water board. This is the state.

      • Thank you for the correction! I was hoping Adonna White was not our enemy…because it’s some serious bullshit they are pushing. I don’t grow weed, I love my land and I am out here to get the hell away from this kind of bullshit!

        • Adonna kind of is the enemy at this point. I heard her say that every property owner on the north coast is going to be required to clean up every residual logging issue on their property over time. Her response was “if you buy a piece of property with environmental problems then you assume the legal liability for them”. Maybe she was just referring to legal pot growers, I can’t remember exactly.

          I went to the last meeting. Those letters were sent out by the water rights department of the water board. Not the cannabis department or the north coast section of the water board.

          It wasn’t a really a big deal, if you give them $250 and you don’t have a huge greenhouse then your fine. You can cultivate up to half an acre of whatever for domestic use (although depending on what watershed your in there might be certain times you have to use stored water). In fact they’re totally cool with 6 plants in a thousand square foot green house.

          Who knows, maybe the abatement program will get thrown out in court and next year everybody could do a one thousand sq. foot greenhouse while they are trying to figure out plan B.

      • the NCRWQCB is a State agencies and Ms. White is a State caseworker for that agency.

        • Regardless of where Ms. White is working the state water board is total shit show and they are criminalizing our rural existence. There’s different departments and they do not communicate with each other or really know what the other departments are doing. Theres the water rights department, water quality, cannabis, the north coast section etc.

          One person will tell you you do one thing and somebody else will say something different. They will send you letters threatening to fine you a million dollars but they won’t give you your water rights even after you have filled out the same paper work five times and paid them five times.

          That’s why all these operations who have all their paper work in order got letters. Whoever sent them out obviously didnt spend any time seeing if they actually had a water quality protection plan, county permit, or state license.

          The letter I got said there was an illegal grow sight, but the satellite photos clearly showed there was an empty field and a greenhouse with no cover on it.

  • Jesus, what size greenhouse is ok for my veggies without having the state and county breathing down my neck???? Wow.

  • Only a few seem to realize that if you do not contract with them, none of their codes, rules, or regs (alleged “laws”), apply to you. NO MATTER WHAT THEY WRITE OR SAY to you. Rescind the existing contracts you have been drawn into by deception and be done with them.

    When Estelle threatened at a Bridgeville Townhall meeting, by saying; “You’re not going to pull the wool over our eyes. Eventually, we’re going to get you,” all bets were off. She voided any offer to contract away your inherent rights.

    “We are not expected to be translated from despotism to liberty in a feather bed.” – Jefferson.

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