Wildlife officers at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) completed a cleanup of an illegal cannabis operation deep in the back country of the Tehama Wildlife Area. The property is owned by CDFW and was once home to Ishi – the last known member of the Native American Yahi people.
Cleanup, restore and remediate are critical components of CDFW’s cannabis program, which is partially funded by the cannabis tax fund. Wildlife officers are charged with investigating crimes on CDFW property and leading those remediation efforts.
Officers will also assist with cannabis cleanup operations on various other public and private lands. Each site is approached differently, depending upon the location and available resources. CDFW may also aid restoration efforts on land impacted by illegal grows by awarding grants to participating entities.
“In addition to enforcement and permitting, our cannabis program includes cleanup of public and some private lands destroyed by illegal cultivation. Remediation, permitting and enforcement aligns perfectly with our mission to preserve native fish and wildlife for use and enjoyment by the public,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division.
The cleanup effort on the Tehama Wildlife Area removed approximately 2,050 lbs. of trash, 9,000 ft. of plastic irrigation piping, numerous bottles of pesticides and other garbage that can be detrimental to the environment. Along with this, a makeshift stove, snares and other poaching equipment were removed.
The Tehama grow was discovered and eradicated in the fall of 2019. Given the remote location and challenges of the landscape, the cleanup was scheduled for a later date when appropriate resources were available.
The Tehama location marks the eighth property restored this winter season. Other sites in Stanislaus, Merced, Riverside, San Diego and Lassen counties were also restored.
You can learn more about CDFW’s role in commercial cannabis cultivation at wildlife.ca.gov/cannabis. CDFW encourages the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution, water diversions and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or by texting information to “TIP411” (847411).