Summer 2008 will be a busy season for U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers and special agents. These officials, working in conjunction with multiple federal, state,and local agencies, will be cracking downhardon illegal marijuana grown in the Green Mountain National Forest. During 2007, agents removed more than 300 marijuana plants with a potential street value of nearly $1 million from within the exterior boundaries of the Green Mountain National Forest in Rutland County and elsewhere during this years growing season. Protecting public safety and natural resources on the Green Mountain National Forest are our priorities and growing illegal drugs is not acceptable, especially on public lands where we manage complex ecosystems for clean water, said Green Mountain National Forest Supervisor Meg Mitchell. Drug cultivation on National Forest System lands causes significant damage to natural vegetation and degradation of water quality through the illegal clearing of vegetated areas and the introduction of large amounts of fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals into wetlands and waterways. The manufacturing of marijuana and other drugs on public lands can result in lengthy prison sentences, high fines and property forfeiture. Federal drug charges are pending as the investigations continue.