About Us

Friends of the Eel River works for the recovery of our Wild & Scenic Eel River, it fisheries, and communities.

Our Beginnings

We were founded over twenty years ago when, in the fall of 1994 a small group of dedicated Eel River enthusiasts came together to intervene in proceedings of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Thanks to our founder and her team, today the river has less water diverted at the headwaters, and more rigid guidelines and oversight regulating alterations to flow.

The communities of the Eel River watershed have benefited from our fierce advocacy for the river and we continue to advocate for the best interest of all life in the watershed.

Our Goals

One of our long-term goals, the decommissioning and removal of the Potter Valley Project, may soon become a reality. The Potter Valley Project consists of two dams and a diversion tunnel, which artificially connects the Eel River to the Russian River. Project owners Pacific Gas and Electric Co are required to apply for re-licensing in 2020, and that is our opportunity to make the case for removal. Learn more about the Potter Valley Project here.

In 2016 the California Supreme Court will hear our case against the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA). We are attempting to ensure that complete environmental review is conducted before rail lines through the geologically fragile Eel River canyon are reconstructed. Learn more about the NCRA here, and read our press release about the Supreme Court review here.

We advocate for policies that protect the Eel River on multiple fronts, one of which is defining appropriate land use and determining and disseminating best practices. Click here to see our take on effective cannabis regulation.

Another way in which we advocate for practices that keep the river healthy is through our work providing education and resources about California water rights. We encourage residents of the watershed to register their water rights to develop a better understanding of how much water our communities need. We also encourage all residents to develop on-site water storage, capture winter flows and rainwater, and to not pump from springs or surface water in the summer. Learn more about drought, water rights, and water storage here.

To learn more about the restoration of the Eel River Watershed, explore the Eel River Forum.

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