PG&E Moves To Auction Off Eel River Dams Amid Growing Seismic Safety Concerns

Geologic Map Gravelly Valley

Utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) began seeking potential buyers today for two aging dams on the upper Eel River, even as new questions emerge about the vulnerability of the larger dam to seismic shocks. A conservation group working to remove the dams released a technical analysis today that identifies an active landslide above the … Read more

Is the Future of Eel River Dams Being Decided Behind Closed Doors?

Tune in for a discussion of the fate of the Eel River dams that highlights more questions than answers.  Pacific Gas and Electric made headlines last week when they announced, during the Eel Russian River Commission (ERRC) meeting, their intention to sell or surrender the Eel River dams. The Commission then began a discussion of … Read more

Eel River Dams (de)licensing Update

Potter Valley Project map

Every thirty to fifty years, hydropower projects get relicensed. Everyone knows that hydroelectric power is clean power, dams are good for rivers and fish, and even old dams never suffer any serious failures. So we should keep them all! At least, that appears to be how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) thinks. The agency … Read more

FOER and Allies Submit Comments to FERC on Scoping Document 1 & Study Plan Proposals

Friends of the Eel River and our conservation group partners submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on their Scoping Document 1 for the relicensing of Potter Valley Project. You can read our full comments or any specific section below. Conservation group partners: American Whitewater, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Trout, Friends of the … 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

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

PG&E Files Notice of Intent to File Application for New License

The re-licensing process for the Eel River dams has begun. PG&E filed their “Notice of Intent / Pre-Application Document” today with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Now begins the long process of reading all 800+ pages and submitting study proposals by the end of the year. Click here for PG&E’s Notice of Intent and Pre-Application … Read more

Threatened Salmon a Concern as PG&E Plans to Pull Plug on Butte Creek Hydro Project

DeSabla >> Operating the hydroelectric plants on Butte Creek just isn’t worth it to PG&E anymore, and that’s a potential threat to a rare strain of salmon. The electric company is going to withdraw its application for a license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission later this month, said PG&E corporate relations representative Paul Moreno. … Read more

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

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