Summer Member Letter

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Dear Friends,

You have all seen drastic changes taking place in our world. Locally, we are watching coho disappear from our community forever. Current damages to the Eel River watershed like illegal diversions, sediment discharges, and pesticide runoff are all adding up towards ruin. We must put a stop to these current and future impacts. Here’s how we plan to help.

High on our list of priorities is ensuring we use existing environmental laws, such as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), to publicly analyze potentially harmful projects. Soon, Friends of the Eel River will be before the California Supreme Court, defending our case against the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) for their failure to conduct thorough environmental review on rebuilding a railroad that traversed the Eel River canyon. By claiming federal law ‘preempts’ California law, NCRA is attempting to avoid any scrutiny of its operations and construction under CEQA. This is a very important legal case, and we’ll need your continued support.

By proposing projects as “citizens’ initiatives”, the process that California Cannabis Voice Humboldt is using to forward their Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance, it could avoid environmental review due to a recent court decision. Certain activities and projects of public agencies which have the potential for impacts on our physical environment must otherwise be reviewed under CEQA. We will continue to provide information to better understand the environmental impacts from cannabis cultivation, while working towards an appropriate balance that eases the burden on our watersheds.

Several years into the worst drought in generations, any cushion we had to mask harmful activities in our watersheds is gone. Dry streambeds, turbid streams, and disappearing species diversity are all obvious signs of watersheds in decline – but we can change this trend! Friends of the Eel River and our partners continue to urge residents to register their water rights, and support educated discussions about using natural resources to sustain our livelihoods. We also encourage residents in the Eel River watershed to store winter flows and avoid diversions in the dry months.  Along with partner organizations, we offer workshops and urge you to participate in a variety of workshops and campaigns to this end.

The effort to heal the Eel River and restore her once magnificent salmon and steelhead runs requires shifts in beliefs, in behaviors and practices.  We believe change is possible.  Thank you for your most generous support to bring this work alive.


For Wild Salmon,


Pete Nichols

Board President


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