Santa Rosa, CA – April 3, 2019 – District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced that defendants
Black Mountain Developers LLC, Darryl Crawford, Cold Creek Group Inc., and Clint
Gerber have resolved a civil environmental enforcement action with the
Environmental and Consumer Law Division of the Sonoma County District
Attorney’s Office for streambed alteration, water diversion and unpermitted
construction during cannabis cultivation on Geysers Road in Sonoma County.
District Attorney Ravitch stated, “Water pollution and
diversion from streams for financial gain is unacceptable in the cannabis
industry or elsewhere and will be prosecuted.”
The civil enforcement action was filed against the project
manager (Clint Gerber), the property owner (Black Mountain Developers LLC), and
Darryl Crawford, who is the President of Cold Creek Group, following reports of
unpermitted water diversion and construction activities on Geysers Road in
Geyserville. The Sonoma County District Attorney, together with the Department
of Fish and Wildlife and Permit Sonoma investigated the activity. Cannabis was
being grown by Crawford and his employees, who were also diverting water and
grading over streams. The unpermitted construction on private property located
on Geysers Road in Geyserville in July of 2016 was discovered during historic
drought conditions. A lack of best management practices on site caused
sediment, which is a pollutant that is harmful to fish, to flow off the
property into the surrounding streams which drain into Little Sulphur Creek.
As a result of the civil enforcement action filed by the
District Attorney’s Office, Darryl Crawford and his associated companies, Black
Mountain Developers LLC and Cold Creek Group Inc., implemented best management
practices to prevent the pollution. Darryl Crawford also obtained lake and
streambed alteration agreement with the Department of Fish and Wildlife for
restoration of the creeks on the site as well as the appropriate permits from
the Permit Resource Management Department.
The terms of the civil judgment require that Darryl Crawford
and related business entities implement the lake and streambed alteration
agreement and complete grading work, as well as pay costs and civil penalties
in the amount of $245,000.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Ann
Gallagher White, assisted by District Attorney Investigators Lisa Chapman
(retired) and Mark Azzouni. Senior Environmental Scientist Tim Dodson and
Warden James Reed, both from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, assisted with
the investigation along with Permit Resource Management Department’s Dan Cahill
(retired) and Engineer Yoash Tilles.