The Potter Valley Project is a small hydropower project in the headwaters of the Eel River. It consists of two dams, a mile-long diversion tunnel, and a powerhouse with a 9.4 mw capacity. The project is located in the Eel River headwaters and diverts water out of the watershed into the Russian River. Removing this project is the necessary first step to fisheries recovery on the Eel River.
Traveling upriver as the salmon do, Cape Horn Dam is the first structure. It was built in 1908, stands 96ft tall, and impounds the river to make the 700af Van Arsdale Reservoir. Cape Horn Dam is equipped with a fish ladder, although some migrating species like Lamprey still have a hard time with this obstacle. About 12 miles upstream is Scott Dam. It was built in 1922, stands 138ft tall, and creates the roughly 79,000af Lake Pillsbury Reservoir. Scott Dam lacks any fish passage, preventing migrating salmonids and other native species from accessing roughly 10% of the Eel River Watershed.
Between a Rock and Management Priorities - Immense Pressure on Scott Dam's Questionable Foundation Of the many safety concerns at Scott Dam, the first we featured in our blog series was the uncertain quality of the bedrock and redesigned dam ... Read More
Only a small genetic difference separates winter-run and summer-run steelhead, but that little bit of nucleic acid makes a big difference. Last month, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list the North Coast’s summer steelhead under the California ... Read More
Dear Friend, Restoring fish access to the Eel River’s headwaters by removing the Potter Valley Project dams. Protecting the rare and spectacular summer steelhead. Safeguarding public trust values. Adapting to climate change and sea level rise. At Friends of the ... Read More
For the seventh time over the past nine years, PG&E is requesting yet another flow variance at the Potter Valley Project due to limited water availability. As the utility explained to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), PG&E is cutting ... Read More
What is wrong with this picture? Looking below the surface at Scott Dam’s design Did you know Scott Dam was originally designed to run straight across the Eel River Canyon? So why is there an angle in Scott Dam? How ... Read More
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asked for our input on development of their new Office of Public Participation, so of course we didn't hold back. Engaging with FERC and extracting the information necessary to advocate for river protection in ... Read More