Our Mission…

…is to restore the Eel River and all her tributaries to a natural state of abundance, wild and free.


Our Goals

Our immediate goal is to remove two antiquated dams that block hundreds of miles of prime spawning grounds. A river needs to stay in the watershed where it is birthed for that river system to remain healthy -Friends of the Eel River

The Eel River is California’s third largest watershed, third largest salmon producing river, and second largest steelhead producing river. This fishery was the first to fail on the north coast, before the Klamath and before the Sacramento. The Eel’s headwaters are dammed and diverted to the Russian River, taking more than half of this cold, clean water so necessary for a healthy fishery to mask the problems on the Russian. It’s dams are now a century old, block spawning and rearing habitat so necessary to this once vital fishery and hold back much needed gravels for a fully operative river system.

If we are to deal effectively with global warming, then we must correct and stop the abuse that has lead to this circumstance. This issue is in the north coasts’ back yard, in the counties of Marin, Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, and Humboldt. Rivers and watersheds respond and heal when we humans stop destructive practices. Please help us heal the Eel by joining our efforts to remove two antiquated dams and close a water diversion tunnel owned by Pacific Gas and Electric company, PG&E, that supplies water to the Russian River via their Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project, PVP. The 9 mega watts of power this project produces for less then half the year is not cost effective and destructive to both fish and a once healthy watershed. This is truly an unsustainable water delivery system in the guise of a power plant.

Our Accomplishments

Friends of the Eel River has been acknowledged and praised for its devotion to the monitoring, defense and advocacy of the Eel River watershed. Through the education and support of the Humboldt County inhabitants and neighbors, of this third largest watershed in California, we have been able to uplift our status as a small fish in a large pond, to a formidable challenger of large corporations and agencies in the interest of preserving our north coast public trust resources. We are over 2000 members strong, are blessed with a solid volunteer base, and an annually publish Eel River Reporter which is the main source of reliable information on water issues facing north coastal California. We are also supported by a large contingent of scientists and fisheries experts, sport fishing alliances, river recreationalists, and concerned citizens who help us to meet new challenges to our watershed integrity. The entire mission of Friends of the Eel River is backed by an enormously dedicated and enthusiastic Executive Director, an active, diverse and top notch Board of Directors, a superb legal council which has helped us rewrite California water law, and the generosity of members and friends of the Eel River.

In addition to legal interventions and victories we have allied with advocates of the Russian River watershed to halt the construction of an enlarged water delivery pipeline to Marin County from the Russian River as Eel River water is diverted to the Russian River. As a result, the Marin Municipal Water District is looking to use desalination and conservation to meet future water needs. Through this alliance Friends of the Eel highlights the need for bio-regions to work together for the benefit of watershed integrity; forest, soil, fish, wildlife, air, river health are all of our concern.

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

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