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.
Fishing and Conservation Groups Sue PG&E over Harms to Salmon and Steelhead on Eel River Groups take legal action to reduce lethal impacts on imperiled fish from utility’s operation of outdated hydroelectric Potter Valley Project dams San Francisco — A ... Read More
We are grateful that the Eel River has been selected by American Rivers as one of America's Most Endangered Rivers®! The list features ten rivers at a crossroads with real opportunity in the coming year to address serious threats. In ... Read More
Tune into the EcoNews Report for big news about Eel River dam removal – PG&E is finally taking dam safety seriously! On March 16 the company announced big changes to how they will manage Scott Dam and Lake Pillsbury reservoir, ... Read More
PG&E Admits Scott Dam Faces Serious Seismic Risks In a March 16, 2023 press release, PG&E has admitted that Scott Dam faces previously unacknowledged risks from seismic activity. Those risks are so great that the utility has announced that it ... Read More
December 29, 2022 Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 888 First Street, NE Washington, D.C. 20426 Re: Potter Valley Project (P-77) Decommissioning Plan and Schedule Dear Secretary Bose, On behalf of the undersigned organizations, this letter conveys our ... Read More
The Eel is a river of opportunity. Seizing these opportunities can have impacts far beyond our watershed. When you support Friends of the Eel River, you are a part of precedent-setting litigation, helping shift the culture of unjust water management, ... Read More