*Update 3/16/19: Press Democrat Article published “CalTrout wants old Scott Dam on Eel River removed to help salmon and steelhead“
Located on the Eel River and diverting water to the Russian River, The Potter Valley Project (PVP) licensing proceeding took another interesting twist last week. After PG&E announced that it was stepping away from the auction process to transfer the Federal Energy’s Regulatory Commission (FERC) license for the Potter Valley Project, it was assumed that FERC would initiate the Orphan Proceeding in an effort to find the next license owner for PVP. However, with FERC’s announcement of their Notice of Solicitation last Friday, CalTrout found that the next steps will be a little more complicated.
Last week, FERC announced that potential applicants have 120 days to file their both their Notice of Intent to obtain the license for Potter Valley Project and their Pre-Applicant Document. This will be a heavy lift for any applicant, but one that CalTrout is committed to pursuing.
CalTrout’s commitment remains the same: advocating and pursuing a solution that opens up habitat above Scott Dam and working with partners to find a two-basin solution that ensures summer water in the Russian River. Towards this goal, CalTrout has been working on multiple fronts. We’re advocating for settlement talks with all participants of the ad-hoc committee set up by US Congressman Huffman, actively pursuing a two-basin design solution for the potential removal of Scott Dam, and undertaking critical studies on fish passage and dam decommissioning.
Curtis Knight, CalTrout Executive Director, looks at this news as a potential opportunity. “We think the most recent FERC news leads to an even greater opportunity getting fish into the Upper Eel watershed and finding a two-basin solution. We’ll continue to work with our partners to pursue a real settlement solution that meets the needs of fish, water, and people.”
CalTrout will spend the next few months working with partners to help build the right team to steer the project towards a two-basin solution.
This recent opinion editorial by Knight and TU’s California Director Brian Johnson lays out its implications of the PVP relicensing process for the once-abundant runs of salmon and steelhead in the Eel River. You can help CalTrout reconnect habitat for fish in this process by making a donation to our Reconnect Habitat campaign.