Update: PG&E Abandons Eel River Dams, FERC seeks applicants to take over project
PG&E decides to abandon Eel River dams Read more >>
About the eel river dams
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 near Ukiah.
Cape Horn Dam, the lower of the two, has a fish ladder, though concerns have been raised about its effectiveness. The larger Scott dam blocks fish migration to over 200 miles of coldwater habitat in the relatively high elevation Eel River headwaters. Read the study >>
RETU and TU staff have been actively involved in working toward a collaborative two-basin solution which seeks the co-equal goals of improving fish passage and habitat on the Eel River and minimizing adverse impacts to water supply reliability, fisheries, water quality, and recreation in the Russian River and Eel River basins. More about Congressman Huffman’s Ad Hoc Group >>
In early 2019, PG&E notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee that they would abandon the project, citing its economic viability. This has created significant uncertainty in the process and accelerates the timeline for diverse interests to work on a viable solution. We are at a crossroads for how we manage water supplies and the health of the Eel River and Russian River ecosystems.
RETU continues to work hard toward a two-basin-solution, one that meets the water needs of humans and fish, with modern, scientifically based approaches. Though there is significant uncertainly now, we do know this much, no dam lasts forever. We can work toward collaborative, innovative solutions now that help to restore our ecosystems and provide water security, or we can pass this problem on to our children. Read a once in a lifetime chance to restore the Eel River >>
Read the Comments
PG&E Orphaned the Potter Valley Project: What’s Happened & What Comes Next?https://kymkemp.com/2019/03/10/pge-orphaned-the-potter-valley-project-whats-happened-what-comes-next/
Congressman Jared Huffman’s Ad Hoc Committee
PG&E decides to auction off the Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project
NOAA Fisheries introduction to river habitat projects, including a case study of Eel River habitat restoration.
VIDEO: Benbow dam removal on South Fork of the Eel River - summer of 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP_f-DY3vvY
Check out the Friends of the Eel River description of the project and actions
Trout Unlimited National article on the Eel River coming back
Hydropower Reform Coalition Potter Valley detailed project description
How the Eel got its name, and efforts to piggyback on salmonid fish ladders for other species
Benbow Dam Removal: Second largest concrete structure to be removed to date in California: http://www.fishhabitat.org/waters-to-watch/detail/benbow-dam-removal-california