Action to Review Eel River Dams Relicensing
Redwood Empire Trout Unlimited supports efforts to restore and conserve the Wild and Scenic Eel River’s habitat for salmon and trout.
Eel River summer and winter steelhead and chinook salmon are especially affected by the operation of the dams, diversion tunnel, and other project activities in a variety of ways. The existing license for the project has not balanced the uses of power and non-power demands. RETU is actively participate in the relicensing process to assure that the new license better protects the beneficial uses of the Eel River and is in the public interest.
RETU jointly filed comments to FERC Project No. 77-285 with American Whitewater, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Trout, Friends of the Eel River, Friends of the River, Native Fish Society, and Trout Unlimited National.
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.
The Potter Valley Project has had a significant impact on summer low streamflows in the Eel River basin. The project taps water from the headwaters region of the Eel river, which provides most of the summer flow in the lower Eel. As a result, summer-run salmon and steelhead in the Eel River are negatively affected - especially during dry years when flows are already low. In addition, while Cape Horn Dam has a fish ladder, the larger Scott Dam blocks fish migration to about 100 miles (160 km) of habitat in the Eel River headwaters.
Read the Comments
- 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