The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) and State Water Resource Board (SWRCB) announced in a press release on July 1 that it would be collectively authorizing enforcement teams for the 2022 cannabis growing season. This is an annual announcement, as the CDFW also announced its preparation for the 2021 growing season in July last year.

This effort is funded by Proposition 64 which enables these government agencies to focus on protecting “priority watersheds and areas with sensitive habitat and/or threatened or endangered species.” The agencies will work with local county, state, and federal groups to ensure enforcement is properly handled.

“The environmental impacts of illegal cannabis operations can last decades and cause irreparable harm to our natural resources,” said CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division David Bess. “Those not complying with state laws and disregarding the environmental impacts associated with illegal cultivation practices will be subject to enforcement actions.”

The water streams of California, and the wildlife that depends on them, suffer when illegal cannabis grow operations divert water. “Tributary streams are often critical in providing clear, cold water for larger waterways,” the press release states. “Many sensitive aquatic species such as southern torrent salamanders, coastal tailed frogs, steelhead and coho salmon rely on these tributaries in the late summer months to maintain water quality and temperatures necessary for survival.”

Furthermore, the health of these streams directly affects the “physical, biological, and chemical impact” of the entire local area, which is home to countless creatures whose habitat needs to be maintained.

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