Denny and Jim Jam Reclaimed From Illegal Grows

  • By Dr. Greta Wengert and Dr. Mourad Gabriel
People stand in an illegal forest campsite surrounded by trash bags and irrigation pipes. Trucks filled with hundreds of feet of irrigation pipes prepared to drive them off the forest.
A large net filled with trash bags and irrigation pipes hangs from a rope and carried by a helicopter.

One of the 12 helicopter loads with household trash and grow site infrastructure within the Denny and Jim Jam trespass grow complexes on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Nov. 9, 2017. (Forest Service photo by Shasta-Trinity National Forest)

Trucks filled with hundreds of feet of irrigation pipes prepared to drive them off the forest.

A portion of the irrigation line and trash removed from the Denny and Jim Jam trespass grow complexes on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Nov. 9, 2017. (Forest Service photo by Shasta-Trinity National Forest)

Shasta-Trinity National Forest is home to numerous sensitive species including both game species, and non-game wildlife which are dependent on the unique critical habitat attributes that public lands within this bioregion provide.

In the summers of 2016 and 2017, several large public land trespass marijuana cultivation complexes were discovered on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest managed by the U.S Forest Service.

Two of these sites were Jim Jam 2016 and Denny 2017.

Both of these complexes lie within tributaries of the New River, a Hydrological Unit with a small population of the sensitive salmonid, spring-run chinook and a small population of federally-listed coho salmon. These complexes are only a couple miles from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delineated Critical Habitat for the northern spotted owl that is listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (ECOS 2017). The sensitive species fisher has been documented to inhabit this area as well as summer steelhead within the drainage.

Both of these complexes were quickly eradicated by federal, state and local law enforcement in summers 2016 and 2017 to disrupt the continued misuse of these public lands. Research scientists from Integral Ecology Research Center (IERC) were brought into the sites to document and ascertain the magnitude of impacts that these trespass grows caused.

During initial documentation of the site, an estimated several thousand feet of irrigation line, numerous substantial water diversions, hundreds of pounds of fertilizer and several gallons of pesticides were recorded. The sites were placed on a high-priority list for documentation and reclamation due to these factors. Reclamation operations were conducted Nov. 9 and 14, 2017.

Thanks to the following for their efforts in this operation: Trinity County Resource Conservation District (TCRCD), California Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division (CDFW), U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations (USFS), California Army National Guard (CANG), Integral Ecology Research Center (IERC), The Watershed Center (TWC), and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Statistics

  • Number of trespass sites cleaned: Two large complexes
  • Location of sites: Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  • Watershed impacted: New River
  • Total water diversions restored to watersheds: roughly 10 million gallons
  • Grow site trash and infrastructure removed during reclamation: ~4200 lb (2.1 tons)
  • Irrigation pipe removed during reclamation: ~ 3 miles (15,840 ft)
  • Long-line loads: 12 loads (Total long-line flight time = 4.0 hrs)