Getting Water Wise in HumCo

Last summer, we saw some dramatic incidents of water theft in Weott and Bridgeville and some ugly busts featuring unsavory water use practices.

Granted, the water thefts may have had nothing to do with marijuana cultivation, but community members did have their suspicions. The shoddy water diversions highlighted in busts, the poisoned fisher found at a cultivation site and the incidents of water theft definitely did not inspire warm fuzzies for the pot farming community.

The fact is, water issues go well beyond whatever good or arguably bad practices marijuana farmers may be using to grow their crops. Yes, there are pot farmers with room for improvement. But really, we have an entire agricultural industry in California that desperately needs an overhaul.

Pondering the problems with our state-wide agricultural industry is overwhelming, and fingers can be pointed all freeking over the place for how fucked up it is. Marijuana farming on the North Coast is the tip of the melting iceberg when it comes to state-wide water and pollution issues. For real.

Regardless of what issues are bigger or badder, there is ample support in our local community to help all of us start to act right (or better). For example, in the spirit of getting water wise, the Salmonid Restoration Federation and Sanctuary Forest hosted a water issues workshop for rural landowners down in SoHum on Feb. 1st.

KMUD was all over it, because they’re good like that, and they have very organized audio from the workshop here on their website.

And there’s more eco-minded community events in store:

Next weekend, on Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m., there’s a benefit show “for an ad campaign to stop the use of rodenticide in pot grows” at the Mateel Community Center. EPIC, Environmentally Sound Promotions, Rats and the Mateel are behind this event which features music by Los Marijuanos, The Camo Cowboys and Blue Sky Pie. More info here.

There’s another opportunity to connect with water-wise people on March 7th at the 2014 Friends of the Eel River Symposium: Drought, Resilience and the North Coast. The symposium runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the River Lodge in Fortuna. For more info, visit the FOER website.

There’s an Environmental Cannabis Forum at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 8, at the Mateel Community Center. Scheduled speakers include Scott Greacen, Kym Kemp, Tony Silvaggio, Ph.D., Gary Graham Hughes, Tim Blake, Scott Bauer and Paul Hagen. More info here.

There’s more…! Hezekiah Allen, a lifelong community member that’s part of the crew behind the Best Management Practices — Northern California Farmers Guide, tells me that we can expect an updated guide sometime in the near future, a website for the guide (Maybe by mid-March?) and a workshop about the updated guide on April 26th to boot! (You can read last year’s version on Kym Kemp’s blog here.)

The Best Management Practices guide is a hit, for sure. I caught up with Allen last week in Arcata, and he told me that they got a lot of feedback about last year’s version of the guide from all over the state: “I’ve gotten emails from San Diego to Tahoe into Oregon. People all over are looking at it and going this is cool, this is accessible…”

And Allen wants more feedback:

“If folks are interested in talking more about it and sharing the improvements they’ve made… any actual on the ground improvements that are coming from this, I really want to know. When I’m out there all over the state, talking about water, talking about agriculture, and talking about cannabis, I make some pretty bold statements in defense of our local farming community. And having anecdotes and having statistics to support these claims that I’m making, gives us a position of more influence in these conversations.”

This year, in addition to his work as environmental consultant and advocate, Allen is a candidate for the Second District State Assembly seat. So dude is definitely out there, all over the state, talking issues, cannabis-related and otherwise. Hit him up at hezekiahforassembly@gmail.com.

Three cheers for sustainablity and for preserving the better aspects of our region’s marijuana culture. Looking ahead, LoCO On The Pot is set to get down with some serious dabs here in the near future. In the meantime, get in the habit of water conservation, if you aren’t already. Skip some showers, turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth, recycle.

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