Environmental hazards of pot farms

December 24, 2012

Marijuana growers  are siphoning water, spraying pesticides, chopping down trees and leaving California’s wilderness areas strew with litter, scientist said. [LATimes]

State scientists recently studied aerial imagery of a small tributary of the Eel River, the spawning grounds for endangered coho salmon and other threatened fish.

In the remote, 37-square-mile patch of forest, the scientists found 281 outdoor pot farms and 286 greenhouses, containing an estimated 20,000 plants — fed primarily by water diverted from creeks or a fork of the Eel. The farms were siphoning roughly 18 million gallons from the watershed every year, largely at the time when the salmon most need it, the investigation determined.

“That is just one small watershed,” said Scott Bauer, the state scientist in charge of the coho recovery on the North Coast for the Department. of Fish and Game to the Los Angeles Times. “You extrapolate that for all the other tributaries, just of the Eel, and you get a lot of marijuana sucking up a lot of water.… This threatens species we are spending millions of dollars to recover.”

With little or no oversight, pot farmers operating in the shadows have illegally mowed down timber, graded mountaintops flat for sprawling greenhouses, dispersed poisons and pesticides, drained streams and polluted watersheds.

 


19 Comments

  1. Jorge Estrada says:

    In the summer months the springs are fewest and those who violate the water laws can easily be caught, prosecuted and fined or jailed. Unfortunately dollars are the incentive the Fish and Game needs to do their job, very soon the free money will be terminated and they will have to work for it.

    It amazes me how defensive the smoke suckers are. If this story were about stupid rules they’d argue their right for that too, their right to be stupid, commonly know as pot heads. That’s cool with me, so long as they carry a right to smoke card and are exempt from any social programs, why hale, legalize allot more on those terms and we can solve our buget problems.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

    • scottabeer says:

      Why is it o.k. for YOU to decide if someone else can smoke something?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Jorge Estrada says:

        It is not ok for me to decide who smokes whatever as it is not ok for me to pay for some-one- eles’s well informed choice. In this country the individual is acountable for their decision and I support keeping that way.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. scottabeer says:

    And WHY is Pot illegal? I went on a low carb diet and discovered Potato and Corn chips were bad for my health. I’m a potato chip and corn chip addict and I need help. Can’t the government outlaw carbs for my health? Oh government, why do you beseech me? I do not know a single person that has ever smoked pot or not because of it’s legality. What is the real reason anyone wants pot to remain illegal? Me thinks it’s more of a control issue where someone gets to tell someone else what they are allowed to do with their own life. Why did God give man free will if others are allowed to order you into submission? Oh, maybe it’s gods gift to the control freaks THEY get free will over the others. oh snap.. I hadn’t thought of that. Hey pot haters, what else would you like to control in my life. taps foot waiting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  3. Citizen says:

    The truth is that it’s the Mexican drug cartel pot grows that are destroying the environment. The workers are uneducated and just don’t know the damage they are doing, and they’re the ones leaving all their trash in the forests.

    Knowing California, I fully expect that the state will set up environmental workshops to teach these illegal drug people how to handle fertilizers, etc. paid for by you and me, the taxpayers.

    The state will never acknowledge the damage these people are doing, and try to keep them out of our forests. They would rather be politically correct than save our environmental treasures. After all, they’re just here to work and protect their grows with AK-47’s and AR-15’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      And lets not forget legalize and the guns will disappear from the forrest and the panga boats from the beachs.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

      • Citizen says:

        I agree, although I’m not real excited about legalizing pot, our state and federal government will never do anything about our porous border with Mexico. The only way to stop the destruction of our forests and watersheds, including the old growth redwoods of Humboldt County, is to legalize pot. But this is years away as far as the federal government goes.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    • easymoney says:

      Spot on citizen…
      Add to this the facts that it is big business run much like the meth business, with no regard for anyones health or the environment. This is not the same thing as a single person growing for their own consumption, this is big business and no limits on how it is done or who is doing the growing. More and more armed illegal mexican drug camps growing on our public lands has become the norm and the use of illegal weapons against the public happens each year.
      One more reason why we should have closed enforced borders and the ability to arm ourselves.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. hotdog says:

    Mary has it right. This is one huge reason why it should legalized, and growing in our backyards instead of our forests. Most responsible politicians (those people we elect to run our affairs) and cops are for some sort of legalization to take the cartels out of it. Plus the active ingredient is less harmful than alcohol.
    It should be legalized, regulated and available. All incentive for the crooks will disappear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 9

    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      One of the few subjects I can say that I more than agree with Hotdog on.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

      • hotdog says:

        I’ll bet that given a rational discussion on many hot issues of the day many of us who so passionately argue with each other here would agree. Because the info we are presented with is limited and so is our time I think we unload emotionally. I blast any so called ‘neo con’ thinking mercilessly yet I am sure that many who think they embrace that arena of political thought share plenty of core beliefs with the liberal progressives. We never give the other side the chance to explore where we agree, we only fight over where we differ. Too bad, I hope sometime we can overcome that.

        Waste and fraud: I bet we all agree we should control both, imposing reasonable monitoring and enforcement, reducing waste and the cost of government.

        Welfare: Only the truly needy should get it, and they must be encouraged to stand on their own as soon as possible.

        War: Only sacrifice our finest in necessary ventures, and never allow profiteering.

        Accountability: Government and major corporate entities should be held accountable for their actions (officials, government employees, CEOs etc)

        Taxes: We must have massive reform in the tax code and allow those who benefit most from all our efforts and labors the proper assessment.

        The list could go on and on, if we ever actually discuss core problems and solutions we might begin to repair a creaking democracy.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. SLOTECH90 says:

    Right On Ted!! Benzos and booze is the only way to fly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  6. givemeabreak says:

    Oh god!!! Someone PLEASE contact Noah and Betty!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. MaryMalone says:

    Yet another reason why weed–a $$$gazillion industry in California–should be legalized and regulated.

    Agriculture interests spent a lot of money and time fighting off regulators from imposing environment-benefiting regulations. In the meantime, ag runoff has fouled our sources of drinkable water–streams, rivers, groundwater basins.

    Well, the government finally grew a set and imposed the ag regulations, despite the heavy-handed ag lobbyists, and we can all just hope it is not to late.

    Meanwhile, one big, fat, money-making industry in California is excluded from regulation. That industry would be the pot industry.

    From propagation to finished-product transport, NOTHING is regulated about the pot industry. That is because, although California legalized medicinal-use pot, the feds have mucked it up for those in the pot industry who would willingly adhere to regulations…as long as it didn’t plot a course for Obama to arrest them and bankrupt them in court costs.

    There are many articles about the damage done to pristine wilderness area by pot growers, and the descriptions are horrific.

    There is no reason for pot growers and production facilities to NOT be able to do it in California, and there is no reason for them NOT to have to follow the same rules the rest of the agriculture crops in the state have to follow.

    Obama carries part of the blame for the damage that is occurring in our parks and natural areas, because he has used California as a his example by which he can convince the gullible voters he actually will stand up against something.

    Unfortunately, in doing so, he chose the wrong ag crop, the wrong reasons, and the wrong State. His little “I’m the big man now” display has made him look foolish and stupid. Really? He thinks it is a political advantage to make old and sick people suffer, after Californians voted for legalization of pot for medicinal reasons, by tromping over states rights and going against the will of the California voters?

    In case Obama is now so important he doesn’t need to remember how to count, here’s a news flash: The State of California has the highest population in America (about 38,000,000), one-third MORE than the next-hightest-population state, Texas.

    Obama lost Texas in 2012–to no one’s surprise (Romney 57%, Obama 41%). However, had there been another candidate besides Romney, and if that candidate would have been smart enough to metaphorically hit Obama over the head with Obama’s stomping on California’s state’s rights, it would have been a helluva lot more. And Texas would not have been the only state whose citizens would have voted against Obama because of his pi$$ing on California’s state’s rights.

    Hopefully, the next Democratic candidate in 2016 won’t need to show he wears big-boys’ pants now and use a state to boost his manly-man status. Democrats aren’t happy with their party now, and they won’t continue to play doormat, voting for anything the party wants to run, forever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 12

    • kayaknut says:

      “$$$gazillion industry in California–should be legalized and regulated” and all the problems will go away??? just like outlawing guns will make all the criminals give up their guns and crime will go down??? I think not.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 13

      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        Ah the broad brush painters are out again. Guns and pot? Really? How about pot and alcohol.

        First off those are closer than your arguement. Second we have seen this before with alcohol. Do you remember reading about prohibition? Do you remember all the gangs and money involved? And do you remember what happened when they dropped and relegalized it? Nuff said.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

        • kayaknut says:

          Yes the gangs were kings during prohibition and the same thing would likely happen if guns/assualy weapons are outlawed. Did prohibtion stop drinking, No, it was enjoyed by even more during it. Prohibition was the government’s attempt to deal with a problem and as often happens when the government gets invovled it failed and was repealed. Keep the government out of regulating ang prohibiting as much as prossble, they have shown they fail more times thatn they succeed.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

          • Vagabond says:

            Ya, the govmnt cant regulate worth a darn. That’s why the air is so polluted with car exhaust, the water is unfit to drink, prescription drugs aint safe because most of them are sugar pills manufactured in China. Nobody can read because the schools teach different ways to spell. and you can’t sleep at night because of all your money hid in the mattress because the banks can’t be trusted and the roof is held up with 2×2 boards. Elections are decided in back rooms. And next week you have to buy that ticket to the policeman’s ball because you wouldn’t want an “accident” to happen. Gosh darn Govmt is the main problem, yep.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Ted Slanders says:

    Legalize Mary Jane, make sure of it’s safety, tax it, and grow it in the Central Valley alongside of lettuce and tomatoes. Problem solved.

    Now, where is my legal half-pint of Jim Beam and prescription drugs …….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 4

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