In July of 2010 the Feather Dancers of the Round Valley Tribes joined Friends of the Eel River at a magnificent swimming hole in the Hearst area, a few miles downstream of the PG&E Potter Valley diversion (PVP). Prayers and dances began just before dusk and continued well into the night. Dances and ceremonies that had not happened in more than 100 years were done on the edge of the Eel River, prayers to bring back the salmon and for return of water natural to this river system. The fall run of chinook came in on the first rains by the thousands, the largest run on the river in 77 years. Over 2,300 fish were counted at the ancient fish counting station at Cape Horn Dam (PVP), with thousands more reds counted below the dam and the confluence of Outlet Creek. Some swam up other tributaries but not in the unbelievable number we saw in the area described. In previous years runs were down to single digit numbers and then increased to 400 for several more years. Yes, ocean conditions are good, and more water has been released starting in 2006 along with better river management practices account for a lot of what we have seen, but one is hard pressed to disregard the presence of prayer. Hopefully this return to the Eel River will continue increasing for years to come.
May your holidays be joyful and filled with love and may your prayers be answered.
For our National Wild and Scenic Eel River,
Friends of the Eel River