March 25, 2015
Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire, working with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, helped secure critical funding from state water and drought relief bonds to fight devastating illegal water diversions from trespass marijuana grows in Northern California. These illegal grows, compounded with historic drought conditions, have had a significant negative impact on Northern California watersheds and forests.
2014 was the first year since written records have been kept that both the Eel and the Mattole Rivers ran dry, due to the historic state drought and a multitude of illegal diversions.
The bond dollars, which were approved on the Senate Floor late Wednesday afternoon, will be immediately put to work through the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. Fish & Wildlife will utilize the $2 million McGuire helped secure to hire an additional 11 positions that will be focused on ending the thousands of illegal cultivation related diversions in Northern California watersheds. These 11 positions will join a Marijuana Taskforce which was created last year by the Governor Brown’s Office.
“The ongoing drought has been devastating to our rural areas and I applaud Governor Brown, President Pro Tem de Leon and Speaker Atkins for advancing these desperately needed investments,” Senator McGuire said. “Northern California has been particularly hard hit due to the state’s historic drought and the thousands of illegal marijuana grows that have taken hold in our forests.”
The overall $1 billion package will expedite bond funding to make the state more resilient to the disastrous effects of climate change and help ensure that all Californians have access to local water supplies.
“North Coast watersheds are under attack and the drought is exacerbating these impacts on drinking water supplies, our environment and they represent a severe threat to endangered species. This money is a good step in the right direction, but there is a long road ahead and I’ll continue to fight to make sure Northern California has the resources it needs to combat this historic drought,” Senator McGuire said.
There will also be expanded funding for the protection of streams and rivers for instream flows, fish and habitat as well as water efficiency programs to benefit local customers.
“There’s more to come as we work together at the state and local levels to fight for the funds our rural counties and small cities need to create and update the water infrastructure projects,” Senator McGuire said.