Tiered farming
Tiered farming

North Coast Regional Water Board Cannabis Cultivation Program

The North Coast Regional Water Board’s Cannabis Cultivation Regulatory Program (Order R1-2015-0023) seeks to address water quality impacts from cannabis cultivation on private property in the North Coast Region.

By February 15, 2016, farms growing more than 2000 square feet of cannabis are required to enroll into the program. As of yet, no 3rd party certifiers have been approved. Therefore, enrollees must work directly with the Regional Water Board, or with a reputable professional to facilitate enrollment. Either way, cultivators can actively prepare for enrollment, improve environmental stewardship, and empower themselves with knowledge to share with their neighbors by learning about and implementing the water quality protection practices required by the program prior to enrollment.

We at Compliant Farms believe that generating knowledge about cannabis cultivation impacts to land and water resources will empower our community to manage the healthy watersheds needed to support thriving canna-businesses. In an effort to empower each farmer in the management of healthy watersheds and prepare for enrollment into the Regional Water Board Program, we have prepared the following self-guided process.

Compliant Farms Self-Guided Process

  1. Go the Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program webpage and look it over.
  2. Download the Order R1-2015-0023 and print pages 15-21 (the Standard Conditions  of the Waiver Order).
  3. Download the Regional Water Board’s Best Management Practices document.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the Compliant Farms Resources page.
  5. Use pages 15-21 of the Order as a checklist to objectively assess your property. Once you complete the “checklists,” you’ll then design and deploy strategies to meet the elements not checked off.
    • Using the Best Management Practices and Resources information develop your strategy as follows:

    • Is there an easy change that I can make NOW to meet the standard condition? If yes, then make the change.
    • Is there a more complex or lengthy change that I can make in the FUTURE to meet the standard condition? If yes, then schedule the change.
    • Is the change required beyond my capacity and requires guidance or implementation by a licensed professional? If yes, then schedule professional help.
  6. Print the Monitoring and Reporting Program, and complete to determine your Tier status.
  7. If you qualify as a Tier 1, complete Appendix A (Notice of Intent) and submit it, the MRP and associated Fees to the Water Board.
  8. If you qualify as a Tier 2 or 3, contact a certified 3rd Party for enrollment.
  9. If you do not qualify as a Tier 1 for reasons other than square footage, repeat steps 5a-c and make changes so you can qualify as a Tier 1, a low threat to water quality.

Through the completion of your own initial site assessment and deploying simple strategies to meet the standard conditions, you will greatly streamline the process of achieving regulatory compliance — saving you time and money. In terms of cannabis cultivation compliance, ecological is economical.


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