FOER comments Marshall Ranch Streamflow Project

Humboldt County Planning Department
3015 H Street
Eureka, CA 95501
Submitted via email to

Re: Friends of the Eel River Comments on Proposed Marshall Ranch Streamflow
Enhancement Project

Dear Planning Commissioners:

Friends of the Eel River advocates for the protection and recovery of native fisheries in the
Eel River watershed. Redwood Creek is one of several subwatersheds of the South Fork Eel
River which are critical to the survival and recovery of coho salmon on the North Coast of

We have been deeply concerned by the continuing decline of steelhead and coho
populations in Redwood Creek. Particularly troubling is the evidence that poorly planned
and often unpermitted development and diversions in this critical basin have compounded
the impacts of climate change. Rising temperatures and diminished precipitation are huge
challenges to the survival and recovery of salmonids in the Eel River. Our steelhead and
coho are incredibly tough, resilient animals, but they need cold, clean water to thrive. Even
they cannot survive in streams that do not flow at all.

Unfortunately, as the Salmonid Restoration Federation has documented extensively over
the last decade, Redwood Creek now suffers from chronic low flows in late summer and
early fall. Pools become disconnected. Water temperatures become lethal for juvenile

The potential for irreperable loss of coho and steelhead in these streams led the California
Water Action Plan to rank the South Fork Eel as one of the top five priorities for flow
enhancement projects in California. This is the context in which we must consider the
proposed Marshall Ranch Streamflow Enhancement Project. The project is, in essence, a
very large pond that will release cold, clean water into Redwood Creek during the dry
season, with the aim of maintaining streamflow in more than five miles of the creek.

The proposed Marshall Ranch Streamflow Enhancement Project will not fix all the
problems in Redwood Creek. But it is an important step forward to creating the conditions
in which steelhead and coho can continue to reproduce in Redwood Creek. It is necessary, if
not necessarily sufficient to the larger task we face.

Friends of the Eel River respectfully encourages your support of the proposed project.

Thank you for your consideration.

Scott Greacen
Conservation Director