WEEDING THROUGH THE IMPACTS OF LEGAL CANNABIS: THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE AND CANNABIS CULTIVATION.
Angela D. Baker; California Department of Fish and Wildlife; P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA, 94244; (916) 651-3123; angela.baker@wildlife.ca.gov; Margaret Mantor
Although the negative impacts of illegal cannabis cultivation are well-recognized, legal cultivation activities may also negatively affect wildlife. These potential impacts include pollution from pesticides and fertilizers, impacts to water from diversions and crossings, site development impacts from habitat loss and fragmentation, and site use impacts that include road use, noise, and artificial light. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) uses several tools to protect and conserve fish and wildlife resources from impacts related to cannabis cultivation: environmental monitoring, permitting, restoration, and enforcement. CDFW is monitoring stream flow and water quality to study how rivers and streams are being affected by water diversions. CDFW is responsible for permitting projects that may substantially adversely affect fish and wildlife resources and includes measures to avoid and minimize adverse impacts in those permits. CDFW implements the Cannabis Restoration Grant Program, which funds restoration projects to improve anadromous salmonid habitat in watersheds most heavily impacted by cannabis cultivation. CDFW's wildlife officers work with growers to bring their facilities into compliance, and remove illegal grows, growers, illegal water impoundments, and extremely toxic chemicals frequently associated with illegal grows.
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