Action Alert: Submit Scoping Comments on Eel River Dams to FERC

We need your help. The dams on the Eel River, known as the Potter Valley Project, have just begun the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) relicensing process. This is our opportunity to call for their decommissioning and removal. The dams are licensed as a hydroelectric project with the capacity to generate 9.4 megawatts, a measly … Read more

The Eel River Could Save Wild Salmon – If We Can Save the River Itself

The Eel River is on the brink of disaster, its ocean-going fish species threatened with extinction, its nurturing estuary diked, drained and diminishing. At the same time, this massive watershed in California’s northwest corner offers the state’s best hope of ensuring a future abundance of wild anadromous fish. This paradox of the Eel, California’s third … Read more

PG&E Files Notice of Intent to Relicense Eel River Dams

Pacific Gas and Electric, owners of the Eel River Dams known as the Potter Valley Project (PVP), filed their Notice of Intent and Pre-Application Documents with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This begins the relicensing process for the PVP, which consists of two dams, a mile-long diversion tunnel, and a small hydropower facility. The PAD … Read more

‘Broken Promises’ County Officials, Public Sound off on Current and Historical Problems at Oroville Dam

A deluge of grievances regarding long-stalled relicensing, management and repairs at the Oroville Dam prompted by the recent crisis at the reservoir were aired at the Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday (April 11). Discussion of the dam, which lasted more than two hours, was agendized as an informational update regarding the facility’s relicensing … Read more

Oroville Disaster May Have Been Caused by Weak Soil Under Spillway

Portions of Oroville Dam’s damaged spillway may have been built atop highly weathered rock, geologists say, a type vulnerable to erosion during the weeks of rain that led up to the disaster. THE DESTRUCTION OF Oroville Dam’s main spillway in February likely occurred because it was built on highly erodible rock, according to several experts interviewed … Read more

109-year-old Potter Valley Project the Controversial Link Between Russian and Eel Rivers

About 80 feet behind the PG&E hydropower plant in Potter Valley, gray-green silt-laden water from the Eel River passes through a steel gate and is invisibly transformed. It has become part of the Russian River, which provides water for more than 600,000 people from Redwood Valley to northern Marin County. “Once it passes the gate, … Read more

Oroville Dam Documents Kept Secret by State, Federal Officials

Citing potential security risks, state and federal officials are blocking the public’s ability to review documents that could shed light on repair plans and safety issues at crippled Oroville Dam. One of the secret reports is a memo from an independent panel of experts brought in to guide state officials’ repair plans. Another confidential document … Read more

Letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy Subcommittee

March 15, 2017 The Honorable Fred Upton Chairman Energy and Commerce Committee U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 The Honorable Bobby Rush Ranking Member Energy and Commerce Committee U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515   Dear Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Rush: We at Friends of the Eel River appreciate the opportunity to … Read more

Comments to FERC re: Application for Temporary Variance of Minimum Flow Requirement

In July 2016 PG&E requested yet another temporary variance from minimum flow requirements for the purpose of preserving water resources during the drought. We submitted comments on the variance, voicing our concern about inadequate management of the Potter Valley Project. Read a portion of our comments below, or click here to read the entire document. … Read more

Hydroelectric Power Officials Bemoan Federal Regulations

WASHINGTON Federal burdens dampen California’s hydroelectric power potential, PG&E and Turlock Irrigation District officials told lawmakers Tuesday. They were preaching to the Capitol Hill choir. Summoned by House Republicans who hope to unleash more of what they called a “clean, renewable and domestic energy resource,” the two California utilities’ representatives described a regulatory thicket that … Read more