The Eel River: A River of Opportunity with Implications Beyond Its Basin

Friends of the Eel River facilitated an inspiring session at Salmonid Restoration Federation’s 40th Annual Conference. The Friday morning session, The Eel River: A River of Opportunity with Implications Beyond Its Basin, was filled with presentations from committed experts working in the Eel River to recover this promising watershed. Click the links below to see the presentations given during the session.

Past, Present, and Future Work on the Wiya’t: Restoring the Wiyot Tribes’ Role as Stewards of Their Ancestral Territory

Adam Canter
Wiyot Tribe Natural Resources Department

Summary: We learned about the diversity of projects the Wiyot Tribe’s Natural Resources Department is working on, including monitoring lesser known species like sturgeon and helping to install and staff the new pikeminnow-filtering weir on the South Fork.

Monitoring Populations of Adult Salmonids in the Eel River Basin – Historical Context and Advancing Modern Abundance Estimates to Inform Recovery Targets and Recovery Efforts within the Basin
Links: Part 1 – Introduction and Mainstem, Part 2 Van Duzen (video), Part 3 Van Duzen (results), Part 4 Middle Fork and Conclusion

David Kajtaniak
California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Summary: David brought us up to speed on how CDFW and their partners count the fish, including a review of historical population estimates and a lesson in DIDSON cameras.

Totally RAD Impassable Barriers: How Geologic Features Separate Summer and Winter-run Steelhead in the Eel River and Beyond

Samantha Kannry
TRIB Research

Summary: Samantha taught us about “minking” her team’s term for their monitoring practice of hiking up creeks as minks do and sampling steelhead at night when juveniles are less active. She shared how their genetic research has extended beyond the Eel River, as well as some truly inspirational thoughts about how “to heal our rivers we must heal ourselves”.

Physical and Biological Constraints on the Capacity for Life-history Expression of Anadromous Salmonids: an Eel River, California, Case Study

Alyssa M. FitzGerald
University of California Santa Cruz and Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Summary: Alyssa broke down into simple terms her excellent paper, Physical and biological constraints on the capacity for life-history expression of anadromous salmonids: an Eel River California, case study. Just how important is that upper basin habitat? Turns out restoring access for salmonids would be like adding another entire Van Duzen River to the watershed.

Advocacy on the Eel: Citizen Enforcement of the Endangered Species Act and Removing Barriers to Salmonid Recovery

Scott Greacen
Friends of the Eel River

Summary: Scott gave us an overview of how the Potter Valley Project dams harm fish, how the project is violating the Endangered Species Act, and what Friends of the Eel River and our allies are doing about it. And he shared the exciting news we just got last month – PG&E is planning to propose full facilities removal in their draft decommissioning plan due this fall!