Alastair Bland recently wrote about the consequences for struggling salmon populations of booming marijuana agriculture in northern California. As he details at NPR’s The Salt,
According to critics, marijuana plantations guzzle enormous amounts of water while also spilling pesticides, fertilizers and stream-clogging sediments into waterways, including the Eel and the Klamath rivers, that have historically produced large numbers of Chinook salmon and related species.
“The whole North Coast is being affected by these pot growers,” says Dave Bitts, a Humboldt County commercial fisherman and the president of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.
“I have nothing against people growing dope,” he says, “but if you do, we want you to grow your crop in a way that doesn’t screw up fish habitat. There is no salmon-bearing watershed at this point that we can afford to sacrifice.”
Growers say they’re being scapegoated, though:
[M]arijuana growers are undeservedly taking the blame for a problem that is caused by all residents of the North Coast, argues Kristin Nevedal, a founding chairperson with the Emerald Growers Association.
“It’s just so easy to point a finger at cannabis growers because it’s a federally prohibited substance,” she tells The Salt. “The truth is, if you flush a toilet in the hills, you’re a part of the problem.”
Find the full article here.