SCCWRP and its partners have initiated the second phase of a two-year study to build the technical foundation for a statewide program requiring California cannabis growers to demonstrate that the water they are requesting to divert from nearby streams to support cannabis cultivation does not adversely affect the streams’ ecological health.
The second phase, launched in March, will focus on applying a draft scientific workflow to the North Coast region of California that cannabis growers can use to assess potential ecological risks from diverting stream flows. The workflow is based on the California Environmental Flows Framework, which was recently co-developed by SCCWRP to bring consistency and standardization to how flow targets get set statewide.
The workflow will help water resources managers determine whether the individual and cumulative effects of cannabis growers’ proposed stream flow diversions will adversely affect the flow regimes necessary to support aquatic life and ecosystem functioning.
While this initial work is focusing on stream-diversion decisions in the North Coast region of California, the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Water Rights intends to eventually complete similar analyses for each of 14 regions statewide.
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