Salmonid Restoration Federation
23 April - 26, 2019
Santa Rosa, California

Growing Impacts: Cannabis and Instream Flows

April 24, 2019
9:00am - 5:00pm

Session Coordinators: 
Elijah Portugal, Cannabis and Instream Flow Unit, CDFW
Eli Asarian, Riverbend Sciences

Similar to other forms of agriculture, the commercial production of cannabis has the potential to cause environmental impacts, both hydrological and biological. The history of illegality of the cannabis industry has focused production primarily in small headwater tributaries in northern California and Oregon where threatened and endangered aquatic and terrestrial species overlap with a high density of cannabis cultivation. In many cases, decades of aquatic habitat restoration primarily intended to benefit salmonids has occurred in many of these same watersheds. Many entities have made considerable effort to understand and reduce the negative impacts resulting from the dramatic increase in the scale of the cannabis industry over the past decade. Through a combination of presentations and discussions with diverse representation from state agency staff, academic researchers, private consultants and NGOs, this workshop will explore the impacts of large-scale cannabis agriculture on rivers and streams, with a focus on hydrology. Specific topics will include: 1) quantifying the recent expansion of cannabis production, 2) hydrological and ecological effects of cannabis production, 3) diverse perspectives on California's system for regulating the environmental impacts of cannabis production, and 4) opportunities and challenges for improving farming practices. 
 

Agenda

Introductions

The Green Rush is Real: Quantifying the Rapid Expansion of Cannabis Cultivation in Northern California, 2012-2016
Jennifer Carah, The Nature Conservancy

Cannabis Landscapes in Southern Oregon: Lessons for Legalization
Phoebe Parker-Shames, UC Berkeley

Application of Ecologically-Based Flow Metrics for Northern California Impaired Streams
Noelle Patterson, UC Davis

University of California On-Line Grower Survey Characterizes Cannabis Water Use and Cultivation Practices in California
Ted Grantham, UC Berkeley

Water Storage and Cultivation Practices Affect Seasonal Patterns of Water Demand of Cannabis Production in Northern California
Chris Dillis, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board

Panel Discussion 
Facilitated by Adona White, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board

Lunch

Estimation of Cannabis-Related Water Use and Comparison to Measured Instream Flows in Select Trinity County Streams
Bryan McFadin, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board

Impacts of Marijuana Cultivation on Aquatic Resources, with an Emphasis on Anadromous Fish
Tricia Bratcher, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife (Northern Region)

Water Quality Impacts of Illegal Marijuana Cultivation on Public Lands, with an Emphasis on Anadromous Fish
Nathan Cullen, Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board

Cannabis Cultivation Policy and the Continuing Development of Minimum Instream Flows
Peter Barnes, State Water Resources Control Board

Is the Regulatory Process of Water Working?
Anna Birkas, Village Ecosystems

Fish Friendly Cannabis Farming Practices: Methods, Opportunities and Challenges
Hollie Hall, Hollie Hall and Associates Watershed Resources Consulting

Coho Salmon: Gauging Cannabis Production Impacts to Summer Rearing Habitat
Corinne Gray, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife (Bay Delta Region)

Panel Discussion
Facilitated by Adona White, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board

Private land forest conversion for cannabis cultivation in Trinity County, 2009
Private land forest conversion for cannabis cultivation in Trinity County, 2009
  • Private land forest conversion for cannabis cultivation in Trinity County, 2009
  • Private land forest conversion for cannabis cultivation in Trinity County, 2016