Decommission and remove the Potter Valley Project from Eel River headwaters

Recovery for the Eel River by removing antiquated infrastructure

One of our long-term goals is to decommission and remove PG&E’s two dams in the Eel River headwaters. The dams and their associated diversion tunnel and powerhouse, known as the Potter Valley Project, transfer water out of the Eel River and into the Russian River watershed. The dams significantly impair fisheries recovery, blocking fish access to about 10% of the watershed and much prime spawning habitat.

In spring of 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission began the formal process of relicensing the dams and diversion tunnel. This process will take at least five years to complete and is our once-in-a-lifetime chance to (de)license the project and return the Eel River to a free-flowing state.

Learn more here.

Ensure thorough environmental review of proposal to rebuild rail through the Eel River Canyon

Recovery for the Eel River by ensuring environmental review meets legal standardsIn 2017 the California Supreme Court heard our case against the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) and ruled in our favor. Friends of the Eel River and our allies Californian’s for Alternatives to Toxics can now hold the NCRA accountable for its failure to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act. We are pursuing resolutions through both the courts and the state legislature to ensure that, in the future, this remote and highly erosive watershed is sufficiently protected.

Learn more about the NCRA and recent developments in this case.

Encourage watershed stewardship among residents of the Eel River 

Recovery for the Eel River through watershed stewardshipLand use plays a huge role in determining the health of a watershed. While logging, road construction, dam building, and livestock grazing wreaked historic harm on the Eel River, today, summer water diversions and sedimentation from widespread unregulated marijuana cultivation pose the greatest threat to the river’s native fisheries.

Learn more here.

Learn about other great work on the Eel River from the Eel River Forum.