Relocation Plan Proposed to Save the Capay Valley From Being Overrun in ‘Greenrush’

BROOKS, CA (March 10, 2021) – In a bid to protect the Capay Valley, a unique agricultural resource in Yolo County, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation has proposed creating a plan to help relocate cannabis production to more appropriate locations in the County. Representing just 8% of Yolo County’s land area, the Capay Valley has become overloaded with half of all cannabis production sites in the County. Meanwhile, the Valley’s unique topography and hard-to-reach location make it ill-suited for cannabis-related activities. 

Today, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to table the County’s new cannabis land use ordinance until it could thoroughly vet the Tribe’s offer to establish a fund to assist with relocation efforts. 

The Capay Valley’s location at the far northern end of Yolo County puts a strain on county resources needed to reach cannabis producers, whether for regulatory or law enforcement activities or for fire protection services. Additionally, the Capay Valley is narrow, surrounded by a range of steep hills. Because the valley floor is uniquely compact, the 24/7 activities associated with cannabis production are a mismatch, particularly for neighboring residential homes and agricultural operations.

The Capay Valley is not only the homeland for the Yocha Dehe people, but for many farming families dedicated to sustainable growing practices. For decades, farmers in the Capay Valley, including the Tribe, have worked to create brand identity for their wholesome, organic, farm-to-fork produce.  From almonds and walnuts, to lavender, olives and organic foods, the bounty of the Capay Valley is highly regarded – and in high demand.

The region also has become a special destination for both agri-tourism and eco-tourism.  Bordered by blue mountains on one side, and rolling hills on the other, the Valley features a creek accessed for white-water rafting, and narrow topography that creates eye-popping vistas for all drawn there.                      

For these reasons, the Tribe has proposed the Capay Valley be provided special land use protection as the County has done for other areas, including Clarksburg. At the same time, the Tribe would help the County provide a “soft landing” to permitted cannabis producers by enabling them to move elsewhere in the County. The Tribe would fund the relocation program, compensating the producers for their land purchases and providing a premium to offset moving costs.

“The current situation in the Capay Valley is unworkable,” said Anthony Roberts, Chairman of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. “So, a cannabis ordinance that perpetuates the current situation is unworkable.  This would be obvious to all if there was an environmental impact report that showed how the Valley has changed with cannabis. But so far, Yolo County has produced no such report.” 

The Capay Valley is located within the ancestral homeland of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and the effort to protect it is a key priority for the Tribe. The Tribe is also concerned Native American cultural assets that still exist in the Capay Valley are being negatively impacted by the over-concentration of cannabis production and believes special protection for the area aligns with the Tribal core value of thoughtful stewardship of the land.

Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation is an independent, self-governed nation that supports our people and the Capay Valley, CA community by strengthening our culture, stewarding our land and creating economic independence for future generations.

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