The following is a press release issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
On August 4-5, 2021, wildlife officers with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) served fourteen search warrants in the Island Mountain area. Twelve search warrants were served in Mendocino County and two were served in Trinity County.
Support was provided by CDFW Environmental Scientist staff, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, the State Water Board and the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program.
Prior to serving the search warrants, a records check was conducted on the properties to determine what steps may have been taken to secure a state license. In these cases, no state license to cultivate commercial cannabis had been issued.
Numerous environmental violations were documented. There was evidence of a poached deer at one of the sites in Trinity County. Officers observed deer legs behind the kitchen/living area and suspected deer meat in a pot in the kitchen.
Staff documented approximately 36 illegal water diversions from waterways that are tributaries to the Eel River.
Other violations included substantial streambed alterations, including unpermitted water crossings, onstream reservoirs, and grading, all of which could lead to sediment discharge to streams, which may negatively impact fish and wildlife. In addition, staff also observed numerous locations of trash, human waste, petroleum products, and other related waste placed in and next to streams.
Visual observation of low water flow in the attached photographs suggest drought conditions in this watershed, yet, these operators are using the limited water to irrigate their illegal cannabis crops.
Stream habitats impacted from these violations support numerous freshwater aquatic species (listed and vulnerable), including but not limited to, the Foothill Yellow-legged Frog, Pacific Giant Salamander and Coastal Tailed Frog. The most sensitive of these species require perennial, cold, clean water conditions for successful egg development and juvenile rearing during the summer months.
In total, over 52,000 illegal cannabis plants were eradicated and over 7,200 lbs. of illegal processed cannabis were destroyed.
Formal complaints will be filed with the Mendocino and Trinity County District Attorney’s offices. No other information is available at this time.