A Self-Guided Process for Determining Cannabis Farm Tier Status with the State Water Board Cannabis Cultivation Program
On 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.
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
Navigate to the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board
Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program – General Order Information
Attachment A: Best Management Practices Manual for Cannabis Cultivation, 1.10 MB*, PDF (PDF Info)
Attachment B: Notice of Intent to Obtain Coverage for Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 Cultivators, 397 KB, PDF (PDF Info)
Attachment C: Annual Monitoring Program Template for Tier 2 and Tier 3 Cultivators
Form 1A: Implementation Monitoring, 168 KB, PDF (PDF Info)
The General Order classifies cannabis cultivation operations into three different Tiers based on threat to water quality, as determined by specific physical characteristics of the operation and its surroundings. The greater the threat to water quality that a cannabis cultivation operation poses, the more that is required of the cultivator for the protection of water quality and to comply with the General Order.
Tier 1 (Low Threat) is for cannabis cultivators whose cultivation activities are located on slopes less than 30%i, occupy and/or disturb less than ¼ acre, AND are not located within 200 feet of an aquatic life bearing water body.
Tier 2 (Moderate Threat) is for cannabis cultivators whose cultivation activities are located on slopes less than 30%, occupy and/or disturb less than an acre and no more than 50% of the cultivator’s/landowner’s parcel(s), AND are not located within 200 feet of an aquatic life bearing water body.
Tier 3 (Elevated Threat) is for cannabis cultivators whose cultivation activities do not qualify as Tier 1 or Tier 2 operations. Meaning that their cultivation operation is located on slopes greater than 30%, occupies and/or disturbs more than an acre or more than 50% of the cultivator’s/landowner’s parcel(s), OR is located within 200 feet of an aquatic life bearing water body.
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.
Print the Monitoring and Reporting Program, and complete to determine your Tier status.
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.
If you qualify as a Tier 2 or 3, contact a certified 3rd Party for enrollment.
If you do not qualify as a Tier 1 for reasons other than square footage, repeat steps attempt to make the changes necessary
to qualify as a Tier 1, a low threat to water quality.
To obtain coverage for a medicinal cannabis cultivation operation under the General Order, a cultivator must:
Download Notice of Intent to Obtain Coverage (NOI)
Complete NOI and make check payable to: State Water Resources Control Board
Fill out and submit a Notice of Intent to Obtain Coverage (NOI) and pay the annual fee for the Tier under which their operation falls. The NOI requires cannabis cultivators seeking coverage for a new, recently expanded, or expanding operation to conduct an Environmental Compliance Assessment. Cultivators may have to submit additional documentation with their NOI as a result of the Environmental Compliance Assessment. Cannabis cultivators, whose cultivation operations DO NOT fall under Tiers 1 or 2, must develop and submit for approval a Site Management Plan describing practices that will be implemented to minimize impacts to water resources. Site Management Plan requirements are detailed in the General Order and on the last page of the NOI.
Mail NOI and Annual Fee Payment
NOIs and checks can be emailed to Trey Sherrell at firstname.lastname@example.org; or faxed, mailed, or delivered to:
Regional Water Quality Control Board
364 Knollcrest Dr., Ste. 205
Redding, CA 96002
Annual Fees can be mailed or delivered to the address above and should be made payable to the State Water Resources Control Board.
After NOI is approved, a Notice of Applicability is mailed to the Cultivator/Enrollee.