Cannabis Restoration Grant Program


June 30, 2022

The Cannabis Restoration Grant Program awarded over $1.7 million from its Qualified Cultivator Funding Opportunity (QCFO) in the first round of approvals!

  • Sun + Earth Certified was awarded $395,643 for planning and capacity building to support sustainable cultivation practices for their cannabis cultivator network. The grant will also provide the framework necessary to help cultivators secure an annual license and support sustainability projects focusing on land restoration and conservation.
  • The Mendocino County Resource Conservation District was awarded $1,388,181 for water conservation projects in the South Fork Eel River Watershed. The funds will focus on three cannabis cultivation sites and will be used to design and install three rainwater collection systems, perform irrigation infrastructure upgrades, develop and implement an invasive species management plan, install native, pollinator-friendly plants and prepare site-specific California Environmental Quality Act documentation required for cannabis cultivators.
  • The QCFO is accepting applications through spring of 2023! Review the Solicitation(opens in new tab) and contact CRGP if you are interested in applying under this funding opportunity.

Final Public Land Cleanup and Remediation Solicitation & Final Watershed Enhancement Solicitation are currently closed, applications under review.


California's fish and wildlife are severely impacted by illicit cannabis cultivation practices including unlawful water diversions for irrigation, conversion of lands, poaching, and use of prohibited herbicides, rodenticides, and other environmental contaminants. Learn about how cannabis cultivation can impact the environment.

In 2017, Assembly Bill 243 (Wood, Medical Marijuana) provided direction to CDFW to restore watersheds impacted by cannabis cultivation in key areas of coastal Northern California. CDFW granted funds to four implementation projects, totaling approximately $1.3 million, for refuse and infrastructure removal, and replanting efforts.

In early 2020, through the Environmental Restoration and Protection Account and pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code section 34019(f)(2), a planning project was approved for approximately $1.1 million in grant fund to help restore the upper Eel River, which has been impacted by cannabis cultivation. See links below for further project details.

Currently, the Cannabis Restoration Grant Program has the opportunity to grant funds in support of partnerships to clean-up, remediate, and restore watersheds affected by cannabis cultivation, and related activities. The Cannabis Restoration Grant Program: Updates and Opportunities (YouTube)(opens in new tab) video provides general CDFW Cannabis Program background and build-out followed by an overview of the Cannabis Restoration Grant Program, with details regarding available and developing funding opportunities.

Refuse and irrigation piping removed and organized for helicopter removal from the Bull Creek Watershed
Refuse and irrigation piping removed and organized (left and top right) for helicopter removal from the Bull Creek Watershed (bottom right). Photos courtesy of the Watershed Restoration Grant Program and Eel River Watershed Improvement Group.

See the Cannabis Program page for information relevant to environmental review and permitting of cannabis.

Current Cannabis Restoration Grants

  • Barker Creek Roads Sediment Treatment ($172,691 to The Watershed Research and Training Center) - The proposed project is to develop plans, baseline data collection, project designs, permitting and environmental compliance for road treatments to reduce sediment impacts to anadromous fisheries in Barker Creek Watershed in Trinity County.
  • Reclaiming our California Wildernesses from the Damage of Illegal Cannabis Cultivation ($388,855 to Integral Ecology Research Center) - The project activities include the direct removal of refuse, hazardous chemicals, environmental contaminants, and the dismantling of infrastructure from illicit public land cannabis cultivation complexes within Monterey and Trinity County. As a complementary component, the project will identify interested organizations and develop their capacity to implement IERC-developed reclamation and safety protocols.
  • Lost Coast Forestland Flow Enhancement and Habitat Restoration ($277,936 to Salmonid Restoration Federation) - This project will result in 100% design plans and fully executed environmental permits for ~7 million gallons of off-stream water storage and associated piping infrastructure to capture wet season runoff and augment dry season flows on the recently acquired Lost Coast Forestland property (938-acre property) located near the headwaters of Upper Redwood Creek in the South Fork Eel River in Humboldt County.
  • Wildlife Conscious Certification Pilot Program: Enhancing Habitats and Connectivity for Wildlife on Licensed Cannabis Farms ($127,167 to Humboldt State University Sponsored Programs Foundation) - The Wildlife Conscious Certification pilot program has four demonstration farms participating in this initial stage and is designed to improve wildlife conservation on cannabis farms using scientifically-based management practices. CDFW has participated in the development of the program as subject matter experts and may continue to advise Humboldt State University Sponsored Programs Foundation in this limited technical capacity.

Completed Cannabis Restoration Grants