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Pot farm boom slams Northern Calif. environment

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Updated: 12/23/2012 4:38 pm

EUREKA, Calif. (AP) — From water-siphoning to pesticide-spraying to just plain littering, a flowering of pot farms driven by the rise of medical marijuana is battering Northern California's wilderness areas, natural resources and endangered species.

The Los Angeles Times reports Sunday that in one remote, 37-square mile forest patch, scientists found 567 outdoor farms and greenhouses.

Most used water — totaling about 18 million gallons per year — diverted from an Eel River tributary, spawning ground for the endangered coho salmon.

Despite the state push toward decriminalizing marijuana, growers remain rogue and free from oversight.

They have graded mountaintops for greenhouses, illegally cut down trees and in one case poisoned dozens of a rare forest carnivore near Yosemite called a fisher. Scientists determined most had ingested rodenticide used by growers on pot plants.

©2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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