Moving forward to free the Eel
A word from CalTrout’s ED, Curtis Knight
Think about your favorite river in California and, if it’s not the Smith, it has dam on it. What if that dam was gone, or modified, or better managed to balance wild fish and people needs? How would it make the river you love different and how would it improve? These are the questions that run through our minds when considering the major dam restoration projects that CalTrout is involved in, such as the four Klamath dams, Matilija Dam on the Ventura River, and the Potter Valley Project on the Eel River.
In early May, PG&E announced they are putting their Potter Valley Project out to open bid this fall. This project consists of two dams, one of which – Scott Dam – completely blocks salmon and steelhead migration on the mainstem Eel. Returning native fish to their historic home in the headwaters of the Eel is a critical part of our efforts to restore fish abundance back to the North Coast.
PG&E’s decision to put the Potter Valley Project up to bid creates a great opportunity to explore alternatives for managing the property in a new way, including the option of dam removal.
Opportunities to remove big dams in California are few. Scott Dam on the Eel River represents one of the best opportunities in the state and PG&E’s announcement has helped move things along, hopefully in a positive direction for California’s salmon and steelhead.