Two people have been arrested after authorities raided an illegal marijuana grow near Bonny Doon that they say was diverting water from an endangered salmon stream.
Officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office and other agencies arrested the two, cut down marijuana plants and removed hazardous materials near San Vicente Creek on July 15.
Acting on anonymous tip, officers raided the site in the upper reaches of the south fork of San Vicente Creek off Robles Drive near Bonny Doon, according to the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. The site had been set up on private property without the landowner’s permission and was diverting water from the creek.
They seized 180 fully mature marijuana plants with an estimated value of $360,000, as well as several pounds of hashish, fertilizer, and dozens of butane canisters used to manufacture concentrated cannabis.
“These marijuana cultivation sites are not only illegal but the trash left behind causes tremendous damage to the environment," said CDFW Assistant Chief Brian Naslund. “Our officers are working hard around the state to find and remove these cultivation sites, keep harmful chemicals from entering state waters and ensure public safety."
Naslund said the illegal growers were stealing mass amounts of water - marijuana plants use six to eight gallons of water per plant, per day, he said. That's a major problem given the ongoing, severe drought.
Nathan Fry Glen, 29, and Garth Steven Dumont, 33, were booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of numerous violations, including illegal cultivation of marijuana, unlawful diversion of water and dumping hazardous materials. According to jail records, the two are no longer in custody.
The lower San Vicente Creek is the southernmost salmon stream in California. It is a historic waterway that supports both anadromous steelhead and endangered Central Coast Coho salmon.
If you witness a poaching or polluting incident or any fish and wildlife violation, or have information about such a violation, CDFW asks that you please call 1-888-DFG-CALTIP (888-334-2258), 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers may remain anonymous.