We are grateful that the Eel River has been selected by American Rivers as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®! The list features ten rivers at a crossroads with real opportunity in the coming year to address serious threats. In the Eel River, two dams owned by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) block access to hundreds of miles of cold water habitat for threatened salmon and steelhead.
While the dam owners are currently preparing to surrender their license and decommission the project, the process could take years. That’s time that imperiled populations of salmon, steelhead, and the Eel River’s iconic pacific lamprey, simply don’t have to spare. This is why Friends of the Eel River and our allies are pressing decision-makers for expedited dam removal. Over the years we’ve put a spotlight on the many dam safety concerns at the 100-year-old Scott Dam, we’ve examined the ways in which operations at Cape Horn Dam harms threatened species, and we’ve built a solid case for removing both dams to protect human safety and restore ecological balance.
Of course there are many opportunities in the Eel watershed to restore habitat, improve water quality, and protect key populations of threatened and endangered species. But the single most important action we can take to advance recovery of the Wild and Scenic Eel River is to remove PG&E’s two Potter Valley Project dams
“The Eel is a river of opportunity. How we seize the conservation opportunities at hand, and address the threats posed by dams, diversions, sediment pollution, and more, can have implications beyond our watershed,” said Alicia Hamann, Executive Director for Friends of the Eel River. “As the climate crisis puts pressure on the continued survival of salmon and steelhead, it’s imperative that we restore access to cold water sources, like the 288 miles of steelhead habitat locked up behind Scott dam, that will help them survive the coming decades.”
Click here to take action with our partners American Rivers.
Call on FERC to restore the Eel River by expediting removal of the Potter Valley Project.