Decommission and remove the Potter Valley Project from Eel River headwaters

Recovery for the Eel River by removing antiquated infrastructure

A top goal is to decommission and remove at least one of PG&E’s two aging dams in the Eel River headwaters and drastically reduce and/or shift the water diversion to the Russian River. Scott Dam is 130 feet tall and has no fish passage, completely blocking salmonid access for 250 stream miles of high quality habitat. The smaller Van Arsdale Dam, which facilitates the diversion, is also problematic but does at least have adequate fish passage.

In 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission began the lengthy project relicensing process. In 2018, PG&E announced its intent to auction the project (known as the Potter Valley Project) off. And in 2019, PG&E announced it was withdrawing its license renewal application altogether.

Learn more here.


Reining in Lawless Railroad and Advocating for the Great Redwood Trail

Recovery for the Eel River by ensuring environmental review meets legal standards FOER has been watchdogging the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) for more than a decade, seeking to hold the agency accountable for its environmental disasters in the Eel River canyon and elsewhere. Our challenge to the NCRA’s refusal to follow California Environmental Quality Act was upheld by the California Supreme Court in 2017.

Sen. Mike McGuire’s Great Redwood Trail Act (SB 1029), passed in 2018, is an exciting step toward dismantling this rogue entity and retaining a restored right-of-way for non-motorized transportation and recreation across 300 miles of rural, scenic northern California. FOER is well-positioned to help guide the transition phase and ensure a trail development plan also addresses the railroad’s legacy pollution.

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


Forging Sustainable Land Use and Cannabis Regulation

Recovery for the Eel River through watershed stewardship In Humboldt County, the heart of the Eel River and a major marijuana cultivation center, summer water diversions, sedimentation, and other impacts associated with large­-scale cultivation and development are harming water quality and fish. In 2018, FOER filed suit over Humboldt County’s failure to adequately protect our environment with its cannabis cultivation regulations. In 2019 we will attempt to secure our proposed settlement agreement with Humboldt County. We will also continue to monitor and engage with key state and local agencies to ensure state and local laws and regulations are implemented effectively.

Learn more here.

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