Feds OK plan to keep more water in Lake Pillsbury reservoir

Federal authorities have granted temporary flow reductions aimed at keeping more water in Lake Pillsbury, a small but crucial reservoir high in the Mendocino National Forest that supplies water to the Eel River, Lake Mendocino, the Russian River and the people, farmers and fish dependent on them. The move is aimed at ensuring healthier river … Read more

Regional Water Board Proposes Rules to Protect Water Quality from Impacts Associated with Marijuana Cultivation

A substantial crowd was on hand May 7 at Eureka’s Wharfinger Building as the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (generally known as the Regional Water Board) held a public workshop at its board meeting to discuss a draft framework for regulating water quality impacts associated with cultivation of marijuana and similar crops. The … Read more

Federal Water Decision that Could Affect Russian River Flows Imminent

Federal approval of a drought-related request to reduce flows from Lake Pillsbury could come Friday or early next week, relieving concerns shared by PG&E, North Bay water managers and ranchers in Potter Valley. If the remote reservoir on the Eel River in Lake County falls too low this summer, it could trigger a dramatic cutback … Read more

Everyone's on Board with Regulation

“If you put marijuana on the agenda, they will come,” whispered the ghosts of old policy makers. And, lo, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board listened. At a packed meeting this afternoon, the board discussed its proposed regulations for Northern California cannabis cultivators. It was the second time this week, following the board … Read more

Shrinking Lake County Reservoir Prompts North Bay Supply Concerns

Water supplies for Sonoma, Mendocino and Marin counties this summer could hinge partly on the dwindling storage in a remote, drought-starved reservoir on the Eel River that serves as a cornerstone to the region’s water system. Water managers, fisheries biologists, environmentalists and PG&E have their eyes on Lake Pillsbury, a diminishing Lake County reservoir where … Read more

Pacific Lamprey Spawning in Eel River

Pacific Lamprey spawning in Eel River below Tomki Creek, April 18 2015. Footage by Dustin Revel. Pacific Lamprey are the fish for which the Eel River was “mis-named”. Thought by white settlers to resemble Atlantic eels, lamprey actually lack the jaws and paired fins that distinguish other fish. They also have round sucker-like mouths, no … Read more

The Sixth Mass Extinction is Happening in Humboldt

And Big Weed seems nearly as concerned about the loss of coho salmon as the timber industry was. In the last EcoNews, I wrote about the new federal Recovery Plan for coho salmon, and its warning that water diversions and sediment impacts associated with the booming marijuana industry present grave threats to coho recovery in … Read more

The Impacts of California's Drought on Hydroelectricity Production

The Pacific Institute just released a report that evaluates how California’s drought has resulted in less energy produced by hydroelectric dams and a greater reliance on the more expensive process of burning natural gas.   The current severe drought has many negative consequences. One of them that receives little attention is how the drought has fundamentally … Read more

California Has About One Year of Water Left. Will You Ration Now?

Op-Ed published in LA Times March 12, 2015 By: Jay Famiglietti Given the historic low temperatures and snowfalls that pummeled the eastern U.S. this winter, it might be easy to overlook how devastating California’s winter was as well. As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall … Read more