Scientists: North Coast Pot Farms Take Environmental Toll

The environmental toll wreaked by marijuana grows is high, the LA Times reports

By Chris Roberts
|  Monday, Dec 24, 2012  |  Updated 11:23 AM PDT
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Marijuana is bad for the fish. And the bears and the water.

Scientists working to improve conditions for coho salmon population along the state's North Coast found that in just one 37-square mile patch of forest, 18 million gallons of water is diverted away from areas where the endangered fish spawn by marijuana grows, according to the Los Angeles Times.
 
In that one patch, scientists working for the Department of Fish and Game found 281 "outdoor pot farms and 286 greenhouses, containing an estimated 20,000 plants, mostly fed by water diverted from creeks or a fork of the Eel," the newspaper reported. The water is diverted from the watershed "largely at the time when the salmon most need it," the newspaper reported.
 
"This threatens species we are spending millions of dollars to recover," scientist Scott Bauer told the newspaper. 
 
Other marijuana growers are using dangerous toxic pesticides like carbofuran -- with which they poison tuna or sardines, in order to bait and kill bears -- which are banned in most other countries, the newspaper reported.
 
Excess potting soil and fertilizers are also causing blue-green algae blooms in rivers, The Times reported.
 
One scientist told the newspaper than "less than 1 percent of marijuana growers" receive the proper permits to take their water from a creek. Other than that, the Times did not offer any statistics on what percentage of growers are participating in bad practices, how many are obeying state medical marijuana law, or how many are completely hiding from the  law and authorities. 

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