Potter Valley Project

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About the Potter Valley Project

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.

Learn more about dam impacts to fisheries habitat & flow, local economy, energy production, and downstream safety here.

Potter Valley Project map

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.

 

ScottDam_aerial_RB
Scott Dam impounds the river to form Lake Pillsbury Reservoir, all under the backdrop of Snow Mountain.

Cape Horn Dam impounds the Eel River to form Van Arsdale Reservoir. There is a fish ladder here where the Department of Fish and Wildlife conducts fish counts.

The Latest Eel River Dams News

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, ...
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On this week’s edition of the EcoNews Report, host Alicia Hamann of Friends of the Eel River is joined by three fisheries experts to talk about how we count fish in the Eel River. Tune in to hear from ...
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Action from FERC and PG&E seems to come in quick bursts – a lot has happened over the past two months. Before diving into that, we want to share the exciting news that this week FOER and our allies filed ...
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The Eel River once flowed unobstructed from its headwaters in Mendocino County to the Pacific Ocean, supporting the third largest salmon and steelhead runs in California. Over a million fish historically spawned each year within the Eel River watershed (Source: ...
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For Immediate Release: August 16, 2022 Contact California Trout – Redgie Collins – rcollins(at)caltrout.org Friends of the Eel River – Alicia Hamann – alicia(at)eelriver.org Institute for Fisheries Resources - Glen Spain - fish1ifr(at)aol.com Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations – ...
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On this week's EcoNews Report, Scott and Alicia from Friends of the Eel River join Gang Green to talk about dam removal and FERC relicensing. Also, the coal train is officially dead! Let’s take a moment to celebrate that big ...
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