An extensive coho salmon recovery strategy released Tuesday by the NOAA Fisheries Service names marijuana cultivation in Humboldt County and the surrounding region as a threat to the dwindling species.

From damage to streams and rivers caused by clear-cutting and illegal road grading to water diversions and chemical pollution associated with marijuana grows, the action plan calls for steps to address many of those issues alongside hundreds of other recovery strategies for salmon populations in an area stretching from the Mattole River near Petrolia to southern Oregon, said Julie Weedly, NOAA recovery coordinator for the Northern California office.

The plan has been evolving and progressing since coho salmon were first listed as threatened in 1997, she said.

A team of NOAA scientists calculated the historic numbers of fish that were in the region, Weedly said, and the recovery plan identifies where the populations of fish need to be returned to in order for them to recover.

One of the many threats is diverting water for agricultural purposes, including marijuana, she said.

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