Friends of the Eel River


2018 Annual Report

2018 was a truly momentous year for Eel River advocates. Together, we saw – and seized – opportunities to spur major progress for watershed recovery. PG&E finally acknowledged that the Eel River dams were more liability than asset and started a process that dramatically increases the opportunity for dam removal. Legislation was passed to end the North Coast Railroad Authority’s long history of harm to the Eel River and begin an exciting rails-to-trails transition for its 300-mile-long right-of-way. The start of California’s legal recreational cannabis industry was a wild roller coaster ride for just about everyone involved – and a telling reminder of the environmental and economic perils of boom and bust industries. Devastating wildfires – almost certainly exacerbated by climate change, also reminded us of the criticality of preparing for fire in such fire-forged ecosystems. And a number of Eel River estuary restoration projects began bearing fruit.

Friends of the Eel River is proud to have played an influential role in advancing real solutions for Eel River watershed health and fisheries recovery. These are pivotal – and exciting – times for ensuring a more sustainable future for our region, and we take our obligation to bring about this positive change seriously. The work that we did in 2018 has set the stage for even bigger and better things in the coming years.

FOER’s Top 10 2018 Accomplishments

  1. Successfully defended our CA Supreme Court victory over the North Coast Railroad Authority before the US Supreme Court;
  2. Played an instrumental role in the passage of SB 1029, the NCRA Closure and Transition to Trails Act (AKA the Great Redwood Trail Act);
  3. Published an important report highlighting serious safety issues at Scott Dam;
  4. Served as a strong and principled voice for Eel River dam removal in the FERC relicensing process and associated stakeholder negotiations for the Potter Valley Project;
  5. Sued Humboldt County for failing to adequately protect water quality and fisheries with its Cannabis Cultivation and Land Use Ordinance;
  6. Appealed the Sensi Valley cannabis processing and wholesale facility in the Van Duzen River floodplain, highlighting it as an example of the County’s failure to abide by its own rules;
  7. Submitted state and federal Endangered Species Act listing petitions to protect and recover Northern California Summer Steelhead;
  8. Represented FOER’s membership and their interests at Humboldt Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings, Water Board meetings, numerous other agency meetings about the Potter Valley Project, in meetings with state legislative staff, and at three regional conferences on salient topics;
  9. Generated public awareness by producing 15 broadcast radio episodes, publishing a monthly E-news member report, and speaking or tabling at nine public events; and
  10. Appeared in more than 50 news stories about the Eel River dams, rails and trails, the marijuana industry, and other issues. Giving the Eel River and its fisheries a voice is one of the most important things we do.

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