Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Marijuana growing areas dangerous even after site is abandoned

By
From page A8 | November 15, 2013 | 21 Comments

Placerville — More than 3,000 pounds of trash, chemicals, plastic sheeting, plastic waterlines and other debris were removed from an illegal marijuana garden in the Eldorado National Forest last September by Forest Service personnel. The clean-up is part of the Forest Service’s ongoing efforts to protect people and natural resources from the adverse effects of illegal marijuana growing activities in the National Forest.

“Catching people who grow marijuana on national forest lands and destroying the plants are important parts of marijuana eradication in the Eldorado National Forest,” said Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree. “Also important, however, is protecting people, natural resources and ecosystems in general from the harm caused by cultivation activities.”

The debris found during the September reclamation activity is typical of what is often found in many other marijuana growing sites. Crabtree says the illegal growers often use large amounts of herbicides, rodenticides, pesticides and insecticides in a typical growing site. These chemicals can cause extensive and long-term damage to ecosystems and poison drinking water for hundreds of miles.

In addition, Crabtree says growers clear native vegetation before planting. Miles of black tubing transport large volumes of water from creeks that are often dammed for irrigation. Use of herbicides and pesticides kill competing vegetation and wildlife. Human waste and trash are widespread. Winter rains create severe soil erosion and wash poisons, human waste and trash into streams and rivers. It is not unusual for personnel cleaning up the sites to find dead wildlife.

Forest Service Law Enforcement Patrol Captain Frank Aguilar warned that if forest visitors come upon an active marijuana garden or one that has been harvested, and appears to be vacant, they should immediately leave the area, travel to a safe place and report the encounter to the nearest Forest Service office, to any member of Forest Service law enforcement or a local law enforcement agency. GPS coordinates, general location of the site and any other site description or landmarks will also be helpful.

Aguilar said that site reclamation is an important part of local, state and federal marijuana eradication efforts.

Frank Mosbacher

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Discussion | 21 comments

  • Vicci NolanNovember 15, 2013 - 7:51 am

    And here is one more reason to legalize Marijuana use and sale in California.

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  • Mr greengenesNovember 15, 2013 - 11:13 pm

    Vicci: I have never heard of anyone being denied a medical use card with the ability to grow for personal use. So many symtoms are covered all you have to do is tell the doctor that you have something that can't be tested insomina, nausea, tinnitis (ringing in ears) restlessness, back pain, sciatica restless leg syndrome etc. for all intents and purposes it is legal. The clandestine forest grown weed is for markets outside california where it is still illegal thus fetching a better price. There are smokers here that wont touch outdoor grown as it's harder to control the quality.Who wants to smoke weed with pesticide residue?

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  • MorrisNovember 16, 2013 - 5:31 am

    Ummm....people who are high?

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  • Agriculture is a Dirty BusinessNovember 16, 2013 - 5:16 am

    "Crabtree says the illegal growers often use large amounts of herbicides, rodenticides, pesticides and insecticides in a typical growing site'..... Same stuf farmers use on your foods then dump into rivers/waterways.

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  • Proud MaryNovember 16, 2013 - 6:34 am

    @Ag, I agree, especially rice farmers, they replanted several times this year, and dumped their already seeded water/soup right in the river. I heard some counties got spanked on H20 quality but you know it all rolls downhill. Then some idiot crop sprayers were spraying in 40+ MPH winds were do you think that goes?

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 16, 2013 - 7:39 am

    Proud Mary, can you fill in some details on your report of rice farmers (some - 1?, 2?, 3?. . . . ) replanting multiple times this year. What triggered such an unusual event? I does not seem possible time wise to botch a planting of rice and then follow up with multiple re-dos.

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  • Proud MaryNovember 16, 2013 - 7:46 am

    Phill, winds caused seed to migrate in a non uniform way=less profits

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 16, 2013 - 7:49 am

    Proud Mary, is there any backing to your statement, "crop sprayers were spraying in 40+ MPH winds? That would be most unusual flying conditions for crop dusters . . . or any other light aircraft for that matter.

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  • Proud MaryNovember 16, 2013 - 7:55 am

    Phill, I was there, maybe not 40+ but if i remember correctly it was in late April early May and that it was at least 35 and no I won't tell you how I know

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 16, 2013 - 7:55 am

    Proud"winds caused seed to migrate . . . Bull shít.

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  • Proud MaryNovember 16, 2013 - 8:31 am

    Phill, I'm not sure what your expertise is nor your need to be nasty but trust me it is common for rice farmers to dump a non uniform crop. Let me break it down for you. The winds pushed the seeds into corners of fields leaving vast empty areas and corners that have been overseeded therefore fighting for sunlight and next to impossible harvesting. This will not produce high yielding nor market acceptable product.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 16, 2013 - 8:48 am

    Perhaps another chat with Tim Johnson might clear things up. ~~~ LINK - Tim Johnson

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  • Proud MaryNovember 16, 2013 - 8:58 am

    Phill from Ag Alert; After two wet springs that had them scrambling to plant their crops on time, California rice farmers say they're off to a good start in 2013. Warm, dry weather this season has allowed many Sacramento Valley farmers to seed their fields without delay. Yuba County rice grower Charley Mathews Jr. described this year's planting season as "perfect conditions." He said what rain his area received last week didn't hold him back, as he was able to go back to work after a few hours. He noted he finished seeding his last field last week. "We've been able to do a lot more field work, a lot of cleanup that we haven't been able to do in the last few years, which has been quite nice," he said. "The last few years, we had rainstorms once a week, which made it very challenging." He said the longer planting window this year also made it more conducive to growing M401, or Nishiki rice, a premium, medium-grain variety that requires a longer growing season and ideally should be planted before May 1. Consecutive days of strong northern winds did ground agricultural airplanes for a while, just as some farmers were ready to seed their fields, said Joe Carrancho, a rice farmer in Colusa County. That caused a bit of a backup, with some farmers having to hold their seeds for as many as five days. If sprouting occurs during that time, it could hurt the seeds, he said. But even with wind delays, Carrancho said he managed to stay ahead of schedule, with nearly all of his fields planted last week. He described his optimal planting time as between April 25 and May 10. He noted some farmers planted as early as the first part of April. "That will help us during harvest because harvest will be really spread out—not everybody piling up on each other," he said. Aside from delaying aerial seeding, strong winds could cause problems for farmers after seeding, said Luis Espino, a University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Glenn, Colusa and Yolo counties. He reported seeing plenty of fields where the water has been pushed to one side, leaving the other side of the field without water. This could affect weed control with certain herbicides, he said, because there would be uneven concentration of the solution, with one part of the field possibly getting too much, which can harm seedlings as they're germinating, while the part without water is not getting enough protection. Strong winds also created turbulent waves in flooded fields, stirring the silt up from the bottom and burying the seeds, Espino noted. "If they're buried just a tiny bit, it's OK, the plants will make it through," he said. "But if they're buried quite a bit, then they'll have a hard time coming through the soil and the water, so the stand can get affected." He said some farmers may need to reseed problem areas, including those where the water was pushed to one end. While the water will eventually level back out through the field, the seeds tend to bunch up where the wind pushed them. Of farmers who had planted before the strong winds hit, he said he estimates at least a third of them will need to reseed to overcome wind-related issues.After two wet springs that had them scrambling to plant their crops on time, California rice farmers say they're off to a good start in 2013. Warm, dry weather this season has allowed many Sacramento Valley farmers to seed their fields without delay. Yuba County rice grower Charley Mathews Jr. described this year's planting season as "perfect conditions." He said what rain his area received last week didn't hold him back, as he was able to go back to work after a few hours. He noted he finished seeding his last field last week. "We've been able to do a lot more field work, a lot of cleanup that we haven't been able to do in the last few years, which has been quite nice," he said. "The last few years, we had rainstorms once a week, which made it very challenging." He said the longer planting window this year also made it more conducive to growing M401, or Nishiki rice, a premium, medium-grain variety that requires a longer growing season and ideally should be planted before May 1. Consecutive days of strong northern winds did ground agricultural airplanes for a while, just as some farmers were ready to seed their fields, said Joe Carrancho, a rice farmer in Colusa County. That caused a bit of a backup, with some farmers having to hold their seeds for as many as five days. If sprouting occurs during that time, it could hurt the seeds, he said. But even with wind delays, Carrancho said he managed to stay ahead of schedule, with nearly all of his fields planted last week. He described his optimal planting time as between April 25 and May 10. He noted some farmers planted as early as the first part of April. "That will help us during harvest because harvest will be really spread out—not everybody piling up on each other," he said. Aside from delaying aerial seeding, strong winds could cause problems for farmers after seeding, said Luis Espino, a University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Glenn, Colusa and Yolo counties. He reported seeing plenty of fields where the water has been pushed to one side, leaving the other side of the field without water. This could affect weed control with certain herbicides, he said, because there would be uneven concentration of the solution, with one part of the field possibly getting too much, which can harm seedlings as they're germinating, while the part without water is not getting enough protection. Strong winds also created turbulent waves in flooded fields, stirring the silt up from the bottom and burying the seeds, Espino noted. "If they're buried just a tiny bit, it's OK, the plants will make it through," he said. "But if they're buried quite a bit, then they'll have a hard time coming through the soil and the water, so the stand can get affected." He said some farmers may need to reseed problem areas, including those where the water was pushed to one end. While the water will eventually level back out through the field, the seeds tend to bunch up where the wind pushed them. Of farmers who had planted before the strong winds hit, he said he estimates at least a third of them will need to reseed to overcome wind-related issues.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 16, 2013 - 8:29 am

    In addition to my 7:55 AM comment here is a cost analysis for one rice planting. You say that the farmer replanted multiple times in order to increase profit. I repeat my 7:55 AM commentLINK - RICE -MEDIUM GRAIN (aerial sown) Farm Enterprise Budget Series -Murray Valley Summer 2012/2013 1. GROSS MARGIN BUDGET: ~~~ There is insufficient time for multiple re-dos.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 16, 2013 - 2:10 pm

    Proud Mary, I checked via email with Tim Johnson, President & CEO, California Rice Commission - 2013 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER ~~~ my email ------>"Tim, Pardon this out-of-the-blue inquiry, but I’m involved in a pointless Mountain Democrat forum chat. Can you briefly say yes/no whether or not the following assertion has any basis in fact. (cut and paste your - 6:34 am comment) - Tim, is it even possible time-wise let alone cost-wise for multiple re-dos? - Thanks in advance, Phil Veerkamp ~~~~ Mr. Johnson's response ~~~ Nope. Occasionally growers will replant once on limited acres if the spring is very bad lots of rain or wind. It was not this year. They never replant multiple times. Too expensive and each replant reduces the yield. As to the crop dusters I highly doubt it. Ag commissioners watch very closely. - Thanks a million for reaching out and helping set the record straight. - Regards Tim ~~~ and in a follow-up note ~~~ Another fallacy is that the grower would dump his water. You don't. You reseed back into the flood you already have. - Regards Tim

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  • Proud MaryNovember 17, 2013 - 4:50 am

    Phill, Well at least you learned that wind does cause rice seeds to migrate. Don't know what to say about your CRC CEOs statement, as I was there, and saw them reseeed. Some twice and at least one grower 3 times I didn't mean to imply they dump all their pesticide soup in order to replant but they do drain for proper water levels And yes the crop sprayer had some words with commissioner but that doesn't mean it didn't and doesn't happen. Ask anyone in Ag. counties how often it happens, it too is not uncommon. You may want to verify with county ag. offices as they oversee spraying . County offices even have ag standard inspectors whos sole responsibility is to watch the crop sprayers with binoculars to ensure compliance But I ask you even if you do not believe they reseeded this year, where do you think they drain rice fields before harvest or to achieve proper water levels?

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  • Ag is a Dirty BusinessNovember 16, 2013 - 7:30 am

    Yeah Mary, those farmers crack me up. Bunch of anti-gov types, with their hands out for every subsidy they can grab only employing the cheapest labor, all the while beetching about food stamps and illegals.

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  • Yea RightNovember 16, 2013 - 7:33 am

    Got to love the "expert" testimony from those posting comments about agriculture. Good grief. Of course, they are pro-legalization because it will "clean" up things just like the agriculture they criticize. The better questions is who knows what is really in the koolaid they are drinking....

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  • Agriculture is a Dirty BusinessNovember 16, 2013 - 7:42 am

    Wiki: "ADM has cost the American economy billions of dollars since 1980 and has indirectly cost Americans tens of billions of dollars in higher prices and higher taxes over that same period. At least 43 percent of ADM's annual profits are from products heavily subsidized or protected by the American government. Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by ADM's corn sweetener operation costs consumers $10, and every $1 of profits earned by its bioethanol operation costs taxpayers $30

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 16, 2013 - 8:03 am

    " The better questions is who knows what is really in the koolaid they are drinking...." No matter what side people take...I think the Koolaid is "wine." or should I say the abuse of "wine." Everything seems to revolve around the beverage. It is a good way to control mass groups--keep them buzzed...keep them happy. and if you keep them "drunk"--you can get small groups to come up with stupid ideas. Id watch the people who dont drink--they are the leaders...they are deciding for the rest. Watch the paper--everyone is the "important" places in our local festivities--is photographed with a glass of wine in their hands. Leave it to some to ruin it for all. when some discover something--they dont "celebrate--they go overboard. Wine the drink of the gods...who tried every trick in the book to kill each other. Pretty soon there will be a statue s of Dionysus everywhere-- the eat-drink-be-merry-god. "the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology." He was also known as Bacchus. He is the one who got everyone drunk and dragged them back to meet the fates with the council of gods. lololol...why are we still taking about "weed?" Bring in hemp...now thats a cash cow. It would surpass, aplles, wine, weed. Teach the homeless to be rich with a crop of hemp.

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  • Proud MaryNovember 16, 2013 - 9:56 am

    Ev, You should see how some grapes are harvested now, all automated, crushed at the vine by machine, no sorting, i.e., everything goes in lizards, bugs,etc. Yum yum.

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