On Christmas Eve the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department learned that the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) approved the award of $18,635,137 in grant funding to the County of Humboldt. The purpose of this award is to assist Cannabis License holders in transitioning from provisional licensing to annual licensing. These funds will assist cannabis operators by helping them come into equilibrium with their watersheds and the ecological impacts of their operations as well as achieving annual licensing status with the DCC. The grant project has three main components:
The first component is a hydrologic assessment of Humboldt County’s 12 watersheds. This study will identify the baseline groundwater supply for each of the County’s watersheds. This information will:
- Quantify potential/actual impacts of already approved permits/licenses to watersheds.
- Quantify potential watershed impacts of pending cannabis permits and licensing.
- Inform decisions on well depths for cannabis operators to avoid watershed impacts from well withdrawals.
- Develop an environmental baseline for continued assessment of decisions related to watershed hydrology.
The second component of this grant project is a Stream Protection Program that will provide direct assistance to Cannabis Cultivators to increase rainwater catchment, water use forbearance, and water conservation. Funding will be provided as a 1:1 cost share up to $40,000 for individual license holders. A primary goal of the program is to increase water storage to achieve 75% of licensee’s commercial cannabis cultivation water budget consistent with State Water Resources Control Board requirements.
Finally, the grant project includes a renewable energy program which will provide 1:1 cost share assistance for renewable energy systems for licensed cannabis cultivators. These funds will allow cultivators to retire fossil fuel electrical generators and pumps and replace them with renewable energy systems consistent with the 2023 state transition requirements.