Scott Dam at Lake Pillsbury, Mike Wier
Scott Dam at Lake Pillsbury, Mike Wier

 

The Eel River is the third-largest watershed in California, traversing Trinity, Lake, Mendocino, and Humboldt Counties. It was once home to some of the West Coast’s most productive salmon and steelhead fisheries. The Potter Valley Project, a hydroelectric facility that transfers water from the Eel River into the Russian River was built in the early 20th Century. The project now produces very little power and completely blocks fish passage to the Eel River’s headwaters.

When PG&E recently decided to not to pursue a new license from FERC for the Potter Valley Project, it created risk and uncertainty for Eel and Russian River basin communities. To protect our region’s economy and environment, local public agencies, a sovereign Indian Nation and a non-profit organization decided to work together to develop a plan for the future of the Project that meets the needs of all communities in the Russian and Eel River basins. Together, we are developing a Two-Basin solution that will allow us to meet regional water needs while restoring fisheries.

The Two-Basin Partnership includes California Trout, the County of Humboldt, the Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission, the Round Valley Indian Tribes, and Sonoma County Water Agency.