Friends of the EEL River: Dam Removal Update


Take Action to Support Public River Access and More!


Greetings Friends,
Wow, April was a busy month. We enjoyed celebrating Earth Week with our Pints for Nonprofits event at Redwood Curtain Brewing Company, attending Eureka Natural Foods’ Earth Day Celebration, presenting at Salmonid Restoration Federation’s conference in Fortuna, displaying a timeline of our advocacy work at Clark Historical Museum, and gathering with our board and staff along the Van Duzen river for some long-term planning and connection. See below for more details, and thanks to everyone who showed up to support us last month!

Dam Removal Update

Also last month, we learned a bit more about PG&E’s plans for the Potter Valley Project. In short, the company will propose full facilities removal in their draft decommissioning plan due in November. This is huge. Our work is far from over, but having PG&E acknowledge that both Scott and Cape Horn dams must go will significantly boost our efforts to return salmon and steelhead to the upper basin.

We also learned that the California Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD) agrees with PG&E’s decision to reduce risk at Scott Dam by reducing the capacity of the reservoir. In fact, the DSOD goes so far as to “restrict year-round operation of the reservoir… to elevation 1900”, meaning PG&E would need DSOD approval before ever increasing reservoir storage capacity again.

The DSOD also downgraded Scott Dam’s condition assessment from “satisfactory” to “fair” which, among other things, indicates that “lack of maintenance requires attention to prevent developing safety concerns”. We expect to hear more from both PG&E and DSOD over the next year or two.

In Solidarity with the Round Valley Indian Tribes

Our friends and colleagues at the Round Valley Indian Tribes are operating under a state of emergency right now, due to an increase of criminal activity on the reservation in the last month. We stand in solidarity with the Tribe as they strive to ensure the health and safety of their members.

Last week was the National Week of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, but this is a problem that deserves our attention year-round. It is a result of colonization and its lasting impacts like institutionalized discrimination. Please visit the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center to learn more.

Action Alert: Protect Public Access on Fisher Road

Fisher Road has been used by the fishing community for nearly 100 years to access the Van Duzen River, a major tributary to the Eel. Last fall the southernmost property owners on the road asked Humboldt County to “vacate” the road, aka remove public access. Luckily we were able to put the brakes on County staff’s proposal to remove the road from the public domain. But now, the property owners have erected a fence and blocked access to the river.

Click here to take action in support of public river access, and to see information about how to attend the Humboldt Board of Supervisors meeting virtually or in-person on Tuesday, May 16.

For the fish,

Alicia Hamann
Executive Director