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BLM Officials Ask for Vigilance in Illegal Activities


As the spring and summer outdoor recreation seasons get into full swing, officials from the Bureau of Land Management are asking public land visitors in northeast California and northwest Nevada to watch for illegal activities including dumping, vandalism and potentially dangerous marijuana growing operations.

BLM officials said marijuana growing is a major concern because it poses dangers for unsuspecting public land visitors and harms water sources and other natural resources.

“Most public land visitors probably don’t associate marijuana growing with the arid climate of northeast California, but we are seeing more of it each year,” said Ken Collum, manager of the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville. “We strongly advise anyone encountering what appears to be a growing site to leave the area immediately and call the county sheriff or the nearest BLM office.”

Marijuana gardens are typically located in remote areas close to water sources such as streams or springs. Indicators are plastic irrigation lines, rows or other unnatural-appearing patterns of brush clearing, and discarded fertilizer and pesticide packages.

BLM officials emphasized that people tending marijuana gardens are often armed.

Officials said marijuana growers also impact the limited water sources of the high desert by impounding water and contaminating it with fertilizer, which damages wildlife habitat.

Over the past several years growing operations have been discovered on public lands managed by the BLM offices in Susanville, Alturas and Cedarville. Working with local law enforcement agencies, BLM law enforcement rangers have eradicated growing sites and made arrests.

Additionally, officials said illegal dumping continues to be a problem across the region, and costs thousands of tax dollars for cleanup. Dumpsites can be dangerous if they hold hazardous chemicals. “We encourage anyone visiting public lands to be aware of their surroundings,” Collum said. “We would appreciate any information about suspicious activities on the public lands that belong to everyone.”

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