Many Nevada County cannabis farms are near the Yuba River. That’s why an environmental advocacy group is working to educate farmers on how to protect the watershed.
Rachel Hutchinson is with South Yuba River Citizens League or SYRCL. She says it’s difficult to gauge the impact of growing marijuana in Nevada County.
"It’s very dispersed," she says. "There are not large cannabis farms where all of the pollution issues are in one place. These are dispersed all across the county. They are on ever single creek that we could ever imagine they could be on."
She says most of the pollution from farms is in the form of chemical run-off that's created by overwatering the soil that's drenched with nitrogen or phosphorus fertilizers.
"Or, some chemicals that we would prefer are not used anywhere," she cringes.
She suggests farmers avoid growing on steep grades so water doesn’t wash down hillsides into streams or rivers.
SYRCL is sponsoring a series of ‘green’ workshops. This fall and winter farmers can attend classes on water catchment, water conservation, natural fertilizers and solar greenhouses.