Forest Pot Grows Bring Range Of Destruction – August 31, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Photos released Thursday by Humboldt County Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace show illegal grading and cultivation in the mountains of Humboldt County. Stated Lovelace:
“On Wednesday, August 29th, I took a flight with 3 Department of Fish & Game officers to get a look at the scale and impact of marijuana grows in some of our watersheds. Without trying too hard, we were able to count 125 grows in the Van Duzen, 222 in the Mad River and Maple Creek, 82 in the Titlow Hill area and 10 in upper Jacoby Creek. Some appeared to be no different than a small farm, but far too many showed evidence of illegal and unpermitted clearcutting, grading, road building and water diversions. Regardless of their size and other differences, they all use precious water from these impoverished creeks and rivers, some of which now run dry in places. I should add the caveat, of course, that from the air it’s not possible to know for sure what is being grown inside any of these greenouses. Then again, the product being grown is not the issue; nor does it matter whether marijuana is being grown for medical purposes. What’s inside doesn’t change the impacts that are apparent.”

Daniel Mintz

Eye Correspondent

HUMBOLDT – A senior environmental scientist from the state’s Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has told county supervisors that there’s a regional “gold rush mentality” but its bounty isn’t gold, it’s medical marijuana.

He said unpermitted activities related to cultivation on private property are causing environmental problems.

The Board of Supervisors got another briefing on the destructive effects of unpermitted marijuana-growing activities at its Aug. 21 meeting. But the focus of this presentation was on medical marijuana production on private property.

Tony LaBanca of the DFG said cultivation has increased since medical marijuana was legalized. “I’m not speaking about cartel-sized grows today, I’m focusing on something that is much more on a rapid growth – what we like to refer to in our office as a ‘gold rush mentality’ here on the North Coast,” he told supervisors.

It’s not about “clandestine” backwoods grows on public lands, he continued. “These folks are in our front country, on private lands,” he said, adding that medical marijuana legalization has “allowed a new type of situation.”

Showing a series of aerial Google Earth images, LaBanca explained that private property grows are sucking water out of streams and rivers. A map of southern Mendocino County featured a pervasive cluster of dots and squares described by LaBanca as grow areas and greenhouses.

Watershed areas near Willits “provide water to the south fork of the Eel River in Humboldt County – that water is being intercepted in the headwaters of the south fork of the Eel,” he said. “We should be concerned about water being diverted prior to it getting to our location.”

Municipal water sources also provide marijuana irrigation, he continued. Projecting a Google Earth photo of southern Redway, LaBanca pointed out numerous orchard-like gardens which he said weren’t there the year before the photo was taken, suggesting annual crops of marijuana.

“This location takes water out of the south fork of the Eel,” LaBanca continued. “They have a water company in Redway which takes water and uses it for these types of domestic uses, agricultural uses.”

He said there’s been a puzzling recent trend – low river flows are being noted in wet years. While LaBanca acknowledged that numerous factors could be relevant, he said diverting water in summer and fall months is a problem and a 10,000 square foot outdoor marijuana grow uses 250,000 gallons of water in a five-month growing season.

Lack of screening on water diversion siphons causes juvenile fish deaths, he continued, and some grows are ripe with various types of pollution. “Concrete, fertilizers and other petrochemicals, trash, debris – all kinds of things are deposited in streams and near streams,” he said.

Another concern is use of “killing agents” – herbicides, pesticides and rodenticides. Rodent poisons have meat products that also attract predators and LaBanca said his agency is noting second-hand poisoning of fishers, martens, spotted owls and bob cats that have eaten poisoned rodents.

The state invests in restoration projects to benefit salmon and endangered predators like the spotted owl, he continued. “And what’s happening to them? We’re seeing them have another impact from another direction.”

Photos courtesy Supervisor Mark Lovelace

Showing more photos, LaBanca added that unpermitted road grading and forest clearing in grow areas has led to sediment loading and loss of riparian cover.

The DFG will work with growers on permitting their operations, LaBanca said, and outreach is one solution that’s being pursued. Some growers “would not come to us at any cost,” he said, but “I think there is a large contingent that is simply ignorant of environmental regulations and a lot of times, through our outreach process, we get people saying, ‘I want to be environmentally groovy, I want to be organic.’”

Responding to a question from Supervisor Ryan Sundberg on whether the DFG is willing to focus solely on growers’ farming practices, LaBanca said, “We will work with them – yes.”

The county is also working on regulating outdoor medical grows and County Administrative Officer Phillip Smith-Hanes said another draft of an ordinance will be before supervisors in late September, to be followed by community meetings on it.

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125 Responses to “Forest Pot Grows Bring Range Of Destruction – August 31, 2012”

  1. Sry Brandon, I should have said "more southern california". A lot of it is diverted into the russian river.

    #66855
  2. Sry Brandon, I should have said "more southern california". A lot of it is diverted into the russian river.

    #67760
  3. Thanks. was pretty sure there wasn't a pipeline running down the state!

    #64126
  4. Thanks. was pretty sure there wasn't a pipeline running down the state!

    #65761
  5. Thanks. was pretty sure there wasn't a pipeline running down the state!

    #66856
  6. Thanks. was pretty sure there wasn't a pipeline running down the state!

    #67761
  7. seems like the thing to do is get the feds to agree to lighter penalties if the grower took into account the preservation of the land, and adherence to all other environmental laws. if that's on the table, people will likely go for it due to the reduced risk factor, as long as they can grow without submitting permit paperwork.

    #64127
  8. seems like the thing to do is get the feds to agree to lighter penalties if the grower took into account the preservation of the land, and adherence to all other environmental laws. if that's on the table, people will likely go for it due to the reduced risk factor, as long as they can grow without submitting permit paperwork.

    #65762
  9. seems like the thing to do is get the feds to agree to lighter penalties if the grower took into account the preservation of the land, and adherence to all other environmental laws. if that's on the table, people will likely go for it due to the reduced risk factor, as long as they can grow without submitting permit paperwork.

    #66857
  10. seems like the thing to do is get the feds to agree to lighter penalties if the grower took into account the preservation of the land, and adherence to all other environmental laws. if that's on the table, people will likely go for it due to the reduced risk factor, as long as they can grow without submitting permit paperwork.

    #67762
  11. Kevin Hoover

    That won't work. Essentially that would be the growers saying, "Let us commit felonies or we'll wreck your watersheds and fisheries."

    No one has the authority to authorize selective lawbreaking in return for compliance with other laws.

    The only solution is decriminalization at the federal level.

    #64128
  12. Kevin Hoover

    That won't work. Essentially that would be the growers saying, "Let us commit felonies or we'll wreck your watersheds and fisheries."

    No one has the authority to authorize selective lawbreaking in return for compliance with other laws.

    The only solution is decriminalization at the federal level.

    #65763
  13. Kevin Hoover

    That won't work. Essentially that would be the growers saying, "Let us commit felonies or we'll wreck your watersheds and fisheries."

    No one has the authority to authorize selective lawbreaking in return for compliance with other laws.

    The only solution is decriminalization at the federal level.

    #66858
  14. Kevin Hoover

    That won't work. Essentially that would be the growers saying, "Let us commit felonies or we'll wreck your watersheds and fisheries."

    No one has the authority to authorize selective lawbreaking in return for compliance with other laws.

    The only solution is decriminalization at the federal level.

    #67763
  15. I'm sure I saw a red carpet in there somewhere.

    #64129
  16. I'm sure I saw a red carpet in there somewhere.

    #65748
  17. I'm sure I saw a red carpet in there somewhere.

    #66843
  18. I'm sure I saw a red carpet in there somewhere.

    #67748
  19. Kevin, I'm not suggesting anything, I hope you're not trying to put words into my mouth, as that's a horrible way to hold a conversation. What I'm saying, is ok, we AGAIN go after all the greenhouses and outdoor stuff going on, and then what happens? You should be able to tell me, you've lived here a long time, unless your memory has failed you…All of those huge diesel grows that were such a problem a few years ago, leaking all the REAL nastiness in to all the streams, remember the whole watersheds that were destroyed? Well, those are gonna fire back up. And all those drip emitters on timers that create minimal runoff, do you remember what those feeding systems are going to be replaced with, and where people are going to be growing rather than on their private property? Maybe much more delicate public protected lands? It's like whack-a-mole. Unless you're ready to trash the constitution…wait, let me use your style of communication…Are you saying you're ready to trash the constitution? Then we're going to have way more environmental impact than the drip emitters that don't create any runoff on private property. Do you already forget how this works? We've been doing the back and forth for decades already to what avail? So we're going to have the same meetings that we had in the 80's, then again in the 90's, that have changed absolutely nothing, because we don't have the balls to step up to the feds and say THIS ISN'T WORKING!!!!

    That's how laws get changed, not by throwing our hands up and playing a little back and forth game that has been proven time and time again to accomplish nothing.

    We'll, maybe one positive thing will be accomplished, hopefully these out of state people won't feel so free to come here and blow it up, and maybe that will help keep the money here….Ahhh, I see what you're getting at now :).

    #64130
  20. Kevin, I'm not suggesting anything, I hope you're not trying to put words into my mouth, as that's a horrible way to hold a conversation. What I'm saying, is ok, we AGAIN go after all the greenhouses and outdoor stuff going on, and then what happens? You should be able to tell me, you've lived here a long time, unless your memory has failed you…All of those huge diesel grows that were such a problem a few years ago, leaking all the REAL nastiness in to all the streams, remember the whole watersheds that were destroyed? Well, those are gonna fire back up. And all those drip emitters on timers that create minimal runoff, do you remember what those feeding systems are going to be replaced with, and where people are going to be growing rather than on their private property? Maybe much more delicate public protected lands? It's like whack-a-mole. Unless you're ready to trash the constitution…wait, let me use your style of communication…Are you saying you're ready to trash the constitution? Then we're going to have way more environmental impact than the drip emitters that don't create any runoff on private property. Do you already forget how this works? We've been doing the back and forth for decades already to what avail? So we're going to have the same meetings that we had in the 80's, then again in the 90's, that have changed absolutely nothing, because we don't have the balls to step up to the feds and say THIS ISN'T WORKING!!!!

    That's how laws get changed, not by throwing our hands up and playing a little back and forth game that has been proven time and time again to accomplish nothing.

    We'll, maybe one positive thing will be accomplished, hopefully these out of state people won't feel so free to come here and blow it up, and maybe that will help keep the money here….Ahhh, I see what you're getting at now :).

    #65764
  21. Kevin, I'm not suggesting anything, I hope you're not trying to put words into my mouth, as that's a horrible way to hold a conversation. What I'm saying, is ok, we AGAIN go after all the greenhouses and outdoor stuff going on, and then what happens? You should be able to tell me, you've lived here a long time, unless your memory has failed you…All of those huge diesel grows that were such a problem a few years ago, leaking all the REAL nastiness in to all the streams, remember the whole watersheds that were destroyed? Well, those are gonna fire back up. And all those drip emitters on timers that create minimal runoff, do you remember what those feeding systems are going to be replaced with, and where people are going to be growing rather than on their private property? Maybe much more delicate public protected lands? It's like whack-a-mole. Unless you're ready to trash the constitution…wait, let me use your style of communication…Are you saying you're ready to trash the constitution? Then we're going to have way more environmental impact than the drip emitters that don't create any runoff on private property. Do you already forget how this works? We've been doing the back and forth for decades already to what avail? So we're going to have the same meetings that we had in the 80's, then again in the 90's, that have changed absolutely nothing, because we don't have the balls to step up to the feds and say THIS ISN'T WORKING!!!!

    That's how laws get changed, not by throwing our hands up and playing a little back and forth game that has been proven time and time again to accomplish nothing.

    We'll, maybe one positive thing will be accomplished, hopefully these out of state people won't feel so free to come here and blow it up, and maybe that will help keep the money here….Ahhh, I see what you're getting at now :).

    #66859
  22. Kevin, I'm not suggesting anything, I hope you're not trying to put words into my mouth, as that's a horrible way to hold a conversation. What I'm saying, is ok, we AGAIN go after all the greenhouses and outdoor stuff going on, and then what happens? You should be able to tell me, you've lived here a long time, unless your memory has failed you…All of those huge diesel grows that were such a problem a few years ago, leaking all the REAL nastiness in to all the streams, remember the whole watersheds that were destroyed? Well, those are gonna fire back up. And all those drip emitters on timers that create minimal runoff, do you remember what those feeding systems are going to be replaced with, and where people are going to be growing rather than on their private property? Maybe much more delicate public protected lands? It's like whack-a-mole. Unless you're ready to trash the constitution…wait, let me use your style of communication…Are you saying you're ready to trash the constitution? Then we're going to have way more environmental impact than the drip emitters that don't create any runoff on private property. Do you already forget how this works? We've been doing the back and forth for decades already to what avail? So we're going to have the same meetings that we had in the 80's, then again in the 90's, that have changed absolutely nothing, because we don't have the balls to step up to the feds and say THIS ISN'T WORKING!!!!

    That's how laws get changed, not by throwing our hands up and playing a little back and forth game that has been proven time and time again to accomplish nothing.

    We'll, maybe one positive thing will be accomplished, hopefully these out of state people won't feel so free to come here and blow it up, and maybe that will help keep the money here….Ahhh, I see what you're getting at now :).

    #67764
  23. Could you please explain what the constitution has to do with this? Which article gives the right to grow wherever a person wishes?

    #64131
  24. Could you please explain what the constitution has to do with this? Which article gives the right to grow wherever a person wishes?

    #65765
  25. Could you please explain what the constitution has to do with this? Which article gives the right to grow wherever a person wishes?

    #66860
  26. Could you please explain what the constitution has to do with this? Which article gives the right to grow wherever a person wishes?

    #67765
  27. Ian Ray

    While I agree that this is an environmental problem especially given the runoff potential, 250,000 gallons over five months for a 10,000 square foot greenhouse doesn't make sense to me. Corn uses about 2 acre feet and lettuce about 1… so, they are saying the water demands for a greenhouse growing a plant that thrives in Afghanistan is roughly twice that of corn? This seems like a gross exaggeration and I wonder how they arrived at that figure other than just making it up.

    #64133
  28. Ian Ray

    While I agree that this is an environmental problem especially given the runoff potential, 250,000 gallons over five months for a 10,000 square foot greenhouse doesn't make sense to me. Corn uses about 2 acre feet and lettuce about 1… so, they are saying the water demands for a greenhouse growing a plant that thrives in Afghanistan is roughly twice that of corn? This seems like a gross exaggeration and I wonder how they arrived at that figure other than just making it up.

    #65749
  29. Ian Ray

    While I agree that this is an environmental problem especially given the runoff potential, 250,000 gallons over five months for a 10,000 square foot greenhouse doesn't make sense to me. Corn uses about 2 acre feet and lettuce about 1… so, they are saying the water demands for a greenhouse growing a plant that thrives in Afghanistan is roughly twice that of corn? This seems like a gross exaggeration and I wonder how they arrived at that figure other than just making it up.

    #66844
  30. Ian Ray

    While I agree that this is an environmental problem especially given the runoff potential, 250,000 gallons over five months for a 10,000 square foot greenhouse doesn't make sense to me. Corn uses about 2 acre feet and lettuce about 1… so, they are saying the water demands for a greenhouse growing a plant that thrives in Afghanistan is roughly twice that of corn? This seems like a gross exaggeration and I wonder how they arrived at that figure other than just making it up.

    #67749
  31. "The U. S. Constitution contains no express right to privacy. The Bill of Rights, however, reflects the concern of James Madison and other framers for protecting specific aspects of privacy, such as the privacy of beliefs (1st Amendment), privacy of the home against demands that it be used to house soldiers (3rd Amendment), privacy of the person and possessions as against unreasonable searches (4th Amendment), and the 5th Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination, which provides protection for the privacy of personal information. In addition, the Ninth Amendment states that the "enumeration of certain rights" in the Bill of Rights "shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people." The meaning of the Ninth Amendment is elusive, but some persons (including Justice Goldberg in his Griswold concurrence) have interpreted the Ninth Amendment as justification for broadly reading the Bill of Rights to protect privacy in ways not specifically provided in the first eight amendments."

    So to my understanding it would be the 4th amendment and the 9th amendment.

    #64134
  32. "The U. S. Constitution contains no express right to privacy. The Bill of Rights, however, reflects the concern of James Madison and other framers for protecting specific aspects of privacy, such as the privacy of beliefs (1st Amendment), privacy of the home against demands that it be used to house soldiers (3rd Amendment), privacy of the person and possessions as against unreasonable searches (4th Amendment), and the 5th Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination, which provides protection for the privacy of personal information. In addition, the Ninth Amendment states that the "enumeration of certain rights" in the Bill of Rights "shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people." The meaning of the Ninth Amendment is elusive, but some persons (including Justice Goldberg in his Griswold concurrence) have interpreted the Ninth Amendment as justification for broadly reading the Bill of Rights to protect privacy in ways not specifically provided in the first eight amendments."

    So to my understanding it would be the 4th amendment and the 9th amendment.

    #65766
  33. "The U. S. Constitution contains no express right to privacy. The Bill of Rights, however, reflects the concern of James Madison and other framers for protecting specific aspects of privacy, such as the privacy of beliefs (1st Amendment), privacy of the home against demands that it be used to house soldiers (3rd Amendment), privacy of the person and possessions as against unreasonable searches (4th Amendment), and the 5th Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination, which provides protection for the privacy of personal information. In addition, the Ninth Amendment states that the "enumeration of certain rights" in the Bill of Rights "shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people." The meaning of the Ninth Amendment is elusive, but some persons (including Justice Goldberg in his Griswold concurrence) have interpreted the Ninth Amendment as justification for broadly reading the Bill of Rights to protect privacy in ways not specifically provided in the first eight amendments."

    So to my understanding it would be the 4th amendment and the 9th amendment.

    #66861
  34. "The U. S. Constitution contains no express right to privacy. The Bill of Rights, however, reflects the concern of James Madison and other framers for protecting specific aspects of privacy, such as the privacy of beliefs (1st Amendment), privacy of the home against demands that it be used to house soldiers (3rd Amendment), privacy of the person and possessions as against unreasonable searches (4th Amendment), and the 5th Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination, which provides protection for the privacy of personal information. In addition, the Ninth Amendment states that the "enumeration of certain rights" in the Bill of Rights "shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people." The meaning of the Ninth Amendment is elusive, but some persons (including Justice Goldberg in his Griswold concurrence) have interpreted the Ninth Amendment as justification for broadly reading the Bill of Rights to protect privacy in ways not specifically provided in the first eight amendments."

    So to my understanding it would be the 4th amendment and the 9th amendment.

    #67766
  35. Those would protect against law enforcement coming on to properties and performing a warrant-less search. They do not allow a person to do something that the feds have declared illegal. They also do not prevent county supervisors and land managers from flying overhead and taking pictures. I would not call a flyover an "unreasonable" search. The photos, on the other hand, could not be used as evidence for a warrant unless it's extremely clear that what's growing inside the farms is indeed cannabis. I don't think any of the pictures in the album show evidence of a marijuana grow beyond reasonable doubt, even though we all know that's what they are.

    #64135
  36. Those would protect against law enforcement coming on to properties and performing a warrant-less search. They do not allow a person to do something that the feds have declared illegal. They also do not prevent county supervisors and land managers from flying overhead and taking pictures. I would not call a flyover an "unreasonable" search. The photos, on the other hand, could not be used as evidence for a warrant unless it's extremely clear that what's growing inside the farms is indeed cannabis. I don't think any of the pictures in the album show evidence of a marijuana grow beyond reasonable doubt, even though we all know that's what they are.

    #65767
  37. Those would protect against law enforcement coming on to properties and performing a warrant-less search. They do not allow a person to do something that the feds have declared illegal. They also do not prevent county supervisors and land managers from flying overhead and taking pictures. I would not call a flyover an "unreasonable" search. The photos, on the other hand, could not be used as evidence for a warrant unless it's extremely clear that what's growing inside the farms is indeed cannabis. I don't think any of the pictures in the album show evidence of a marijuana grow beyond reasonable doubt, even though we all know that's what they are.

    #66862
  38. Those would protect against law enforcement coming on to properties and performing a warrant-less search. They do not allow a person to do something that the feds have declared illegal. They also do not prevent county supervisors and land managers from flying overhead and taking pictures. I would not call a flyover an "unreasonable" search. The photos, on the other hand, could not be used as evidence for a warrant unless it's extremely clear that what's growing inside the farms is indeed cannabis. I don't think any of the pictures in the album show evidence of a marijuana grow beyond reasonable doubt, even though we all know that's what they are.

    #67767
  39. I'm referring to trying to go after all of the unpermitted buildings under canopies running huge gennies, out of anyone's sight. I believe there has to be some sort of evidence for a search warrant. They were everywhere a few years ago, frequently spilling into watersheds. That's what everyone will just go back to doing if they eradicate everything else.

    Despite all of this, I do agree that things need to happen to discourage the influx of outsiders coming in to take advantage of us, and shipping their money and support of our community somewhere else.

    #64138
  40. I'm referring to trying to go after all of the unpermitted buildings under canopies running huge gennies, out of anyone's sight. I believe there has to be some sort of evidence for a search warrant. They were everywhere a few years ago, frequently spilling into watersheds. That's what everyone will just go back to doing if they eradicate everything else.

    Despite all of this, I do agree that things need to happen to discourage the influx of outsiders coming in to take advantage of us, and shipping their money and support of our community somewhere else.

    #65768
  41. I'm referring to trying to go after all of the unpermitted buildings under canopies running huge gennies, out of anyone's sight. I believe there has to be some sort of evidence for a search warrant. They were everywhere a few years ago, frequently spilling into watersheds. That's what everyone will just go back to doing if they eradicate everything else.

    Despite all of this, I do agree that things need to happen to discourage the influx of outsiders coming in to take advantage of us, and shipping their money and support of our community somewhere else.

    #66863
  42. I'm referring to trying to go after all of the unpermitted buildings under canopies running huge gennies, out of anyone's sight. I believe there has to be some sort of evidence for a search warrant. They were everywhere a few years ago, frequently spilling into watersheds. That's what everyone will just go back to doing if they eradicate everything else.

    Despite all of this, I do agree that things need to happen to discourage the influx of outsiders coming in to take advantage of us, and shipping their money and support of our community somewhere else.

    #67768
  43. " I would not call a flyover an "unreasonable" search"

    The Supreme Court decides that, not you or me. I am pretty sure that flyovers on private land are not legal, and now that the EPA is targeting rancher in the Midwest too… I am sure the courts will rule on it soon enough.
    http://www.courierpress.com/news/2012/jul/02/midwest-ranchers-lawmakers-protest-epa-flyovers/

    #64140
  44. " I would not call a flyover an "unreasonable" search"

    The Supreme Court decides that, not you or me. I am pretty sure that flyovers on private land are not legal, and now that the EPA is targeting rancher in the Midwest too… I am sure the courts will rule on it soon enough.
    http://www.courierpress.com/news/2012/jul/02/midwest-ranchers-lawmakers-protest-epa-flyovers/

    #65769
  45. " I would not call a flyover an "unreasonable" search"

    The Supreme Court decides that, not you or me. I am pretty sure that flyovers on private land are not legal, and now that the EPA is targeting rancher in the Midwest too… I am sure the courts will rule on it soon enough.
    http://www.courierpress.com/news/2012/jul/02/midwest-ranchers-lawmakers-protest-epa-flyovers/

    #66864
  46. " I would not call a flyover an "unreasonable" search"

    The Supreme Court decides that, not you or me. I am pretty sure that flyovers on private land are not legal, and now that the EPA is targeting rancher in the Midwest too… I am sure the courts will rule on it soon enough.
    http://www.courierpress.com/news/2012/jul/02/midwest-ranchers-lawmakers-protest-epa-flyovers/

    #67769

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