Reflections on 2019 and Looking Forward

Hi Friends,

We are so thankful for all the generous support from our end of year fundraising campaign. Support from our community is crucial to continuing our important work protecting the Eel River and its fisheries.

Our board and staff started off the new year with an exciting strategic planning session down in Willits along Baechtel Creek. We celebrated our successes from 2019, planned future work with our long-term program areas, and prepared to address new issues in the coming years.

FOER Board and Staff 2020
FOER Board and Staff at our annual retreat in January 2020

2019 Successes

We are proud of the progress we’ve made highlighting significant issues with the Eel River dams. We’ve worked persistently to keep fish passage at the forefront of the discussions. The progress toward dam removal continues to look hopeful, and FOER remains ever vigilant.

In the fall of 2019 we reached a long-sought and successful settlement agreement with Humboldt County. It requires the County to address sediment impacts from cannabis cultivation in the most sensitive salmonid habitat in the South Fork Eel River.

The final lose ends of our lawsuit, which challenged the North Coast Railroad Authority’s aspiration to avoid complying with CEQA while rebuilding the Northwestern Pacific Rail, were settled in late spring last year. We look forward to continuing to engage with the Great Redwood Trail. We will ensure that development is ecologically appropriate and helps connect visitors to the wonderful Eel River.

And of course, we are thrilled that the new and improved EcoNews Report is back on the air! Thanks to our partners at EPIC, Humboldt Baykeeper, and the NEC, as well as Lost Coast Outpost, KHUM, and our incredible volunteer engineer Fred McLaughlin. You can click here to subscribe to the podcast, or tune into KHUM every Saturday at 10 am.

Looking Forward

In the coming year we will continue progress toward removing the Eel River dams. We also hope to engage in protecting the Eel in the following ways in 2020 and beyond:

  • Monitoring Humboldt County’s implementation of our cannabis settlement agreement, and working with partners to explore the impacts of trespass grows on public lands in the Eel;
  • Following up on our petitions to list Eel River summer steelhead under the State and Federal Endangered Species Act;
  • Ensuring a sustainable groundwater management plan is implemented in the lower Eel;
  • Analyzing and preparing for sea level rise in the Eel estuary; and
  • Increasing protective designations, with an eye toward recreation and fire resiliency, in the upper watershed.