PG&E Says it May Sell or Abandon the Potter Valley Project Which Dams the Eel River

Aerial photo of Scott Dam and Lake Pillsbury

Aerial photo of Scott Dam and Lake Pillsbury [Photo by Rob Badger; used with permission from Friends of the Eel River]

PG&E’s Director of Energy Generation, Dave Moller, dropped a bombshell at the Eel Russian River Commission yesterday afternoon in the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors’ chambers. Moller said PG&E is considering “all its options” regarding the Potter Valley Project (PVP) which, in order to generate electricity, diverts water from the Eel River into the Russian River watershed. These options, he said, include selling the project to an interested buyer, offering it for sale in an open bid, abandoning the relicensing application, or continuing to operate the project. Moller said he viewed the Eel-Russian River Commission as the only opportunity to speak with all four Counties impacted by the PVP in one setting.

Moller would not say when PG&E will decide the PVP’s fate other than they will do so “within a couple of months.” Moller also would not say if PG&E is already in negotiations with an interested buyer.

Moller explained that demand for power from PG&E is down, but did not say by what percentage. He placed the Potter Valley Project’s nine megawatts of potential generation in the context of PG&E’s total production statistics. PG&E provides power to about 16 million people, and Potter Valley’s potential generation is a minuscule portion of this. It only generates enough power for three to five thousand people.

Moller said that as demand for power from PG&E declines, the company is uncertain that the Potter Valley Project is a project it wants to continue to operate.

However, Moller speculated that other, unnamed, entities may view the project differently. He was vague and refused to be more specific when questioned by Commissioner Jim Steele of Lake County.

During his formal remarks to the Commission, Moller mentioned the importance of the water transfer to the region multiple times. Sonoma County Supervisor Jim Gore spoke of the water rights that have developed over the century of the water transfer’s existence.

Mendocino County Farm Bureau’s Devon Jones sounded like she might be near tears as she reminded Commissioners of farmers’ reliance on this water source for their livelihood.

Potter Valley resident Guinness McFadden reminded the room that the Potter Valley Project represented a decentralized source of power production that benefits the system.

Friends of the Eel River’s Director Stephanie Tidwell said that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicensing process has not adequately allowed for the study of the dam decommissioning option. And she reminded Commissioner Fennell that Humboldt County gets no benefits from the water transfer.

Scott Greacen, Friends of the Eel’s Conservation Director, said decommissioning would be “smart” given the environmental costs and constraints of NEPA and CEQA for the relicensing of this project. Greacen also explained that the reservoir causes a “methylmercury nightmare” as the naturally occurring mercury in the ground has become methylated in the anaerobic conditions under the reservoir and has concentrated in the food chain.

And Greacen brought up the issue of dam safety in the context of the two-hundred-year-old structures in a geologically unstable region.

Vivian Helliwell of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association (PCFFA) described the role of the Eel River fishery as a “leading indicator” of the health of the river and the success of mitigation efforts so far.

Immediately after Moller’s PG&E agenda item, the Commission took up the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) discussion. The JPA organizes Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma Counties into the Eel-Russian River Commission and gives it authority to govern the interbasin hydro-electric project. Humboldt County Supervisor Estelle Fennell chairs the Commission at this time. She had clearly read and re-read the JPA in recent weeks. Fennel noted that the JPA has, until now, left PG&E to govern itself.

The Commission examined the JPA document closely and determined there is room to include more voices in the Commission including those of Tribes, cities, and smaller districts impacted by the dam and diversion. Mark Wheetley, Fortuna’s City Manager was present to express Fortuna’s interest in being involved in the future of the Potter Valley Project. Michelle Vassel Tribal Administrator of the Wyott Tribe also informed the Commission of the Tribe’s interest to participate in all conversations moving forward.

In reading the JPA, Commissioners noted that though the Commission cannot impose taxes to raise revenue, it can own property. The Eel Russian River Commission members seemed to dream of operating the Potter Valley Project in PG&E’s absence but does not have the financial means to carry it. And, Commissioner Carre Brown noted the liability issues involved in the dam and the diversion.

After the meeting, Commissioner Estelle Fennell reiterated her statement made during the Commission meeting that Humboldt County residents have always expressed a desire for the Eel River to return home.  Fennell notes that the region must work together to strengthen the Russian River residents’ ability to meet water needs that have grown up around the diversion’s water supply.  However, Fennell said, “Now we can talk about the issues and their solutions.”




  • The Eel was stolen by Mendocino and Sonoma fair and square and they intend to keep their booty. Their welfare farmers are used to the cheap, subsidized water provided by the Project to grow wine, providing no benefit to the Humboldt County residents and environment from whom they steal it. They will fight to keep it with all the money and power at their disposal.

      • Lost Croat Outburst

        Actually the seeds of cannabis are quite nutritious. Hemp seeds are available in markets and the old “Humboldt skunk” indica strains would produce abundant crops of large seeds if you messed up and didn’t pull males. For home use, seeds don’t harm potency very much and you can obtain food, medicine, fiber and pleasant evenings from the same plant. It’s wonderful and remarkable. Feral hemp is a valuable wildlife resource in the midwest, providing food and shelter in moist or riparian habitats. Small birds on up through wild turkeys benefit and mammals as well. The plants are pleasant accents in the landscape. It’s really great and the plants can get by on somewhat less water than tomatoes and corn.

        Thanks for asking!

    • Well said.
      No one ever wants to include the gluttonous vineyards in the conservation/ water talks.
      Make them pay double. 😬

      • I guess you have not seen the acres and acres of “gluttonous vineyards” at the Southern Humboldt Community Park. How much water/irrigation is that using from the river and at what price? And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to cannabis, but no one wants to talk about that either (elephant in the room). IMHO, it’s hypocritical to point fingers, while the South Fork Eel fades away, that you cannot blame or put off on anyone but yourselfs.

        Maybe like Benbow Dam (small example) and the fate of the Klamath Dams; maybe someday the Eel will be free flowing again…

        • actually ed,
          grapes use far more water than cannabis, and many of the vinyards in nor cal use illegally obtained sources of water. there may be more cannabis farms in humboldt county than vinyards, with only 150 acres of grapes in production county wide, but the ammount of grapes being grown in the counties effected by the project and the water needed to produce those grapes is much more than cannabis uses here domestically.

          it takes appx 872 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of wine. currently in sonoma county there are over 60,000 acres of grapes being grown(wikepedia). one acre produces roughly 3,958 bottles of wine. all of this produced by 1800 liscensed grape growers. for a total of roughly 39.5 million bottles in sonoma alone. the simple fact that this water use is largely unregulated is unacceptable seeing as the water board will come to my house for not filing a permit in this very season. counties like trinity and humboldt are using aerial photos to deliver citations. why not a similar level of concern for the grapes?

          it takes appx 300 gallons of water to produce a pound of cannabis full season.
          average of 6 gallons per day per plant for 6 mos for an average full season yield of 3lbs a plant

          if you have forgotten, paul gallegos lost the lawsuit against sonoma and mendocino counties regarding degradation of the eel river watershed simply because we could not afford to continue the suit. they were suing us for the projected loss of revenue and growth to the counties for the next 15 years. 6.28 billion gallons of water are diverted every year resulting in serious enviromental degradation especially in the dry summer and fall seasons(wikepedia). although the diversion is quoted as being negligable at 3% of the total anual flow. that number of acrefeet diverted annually converted to gallons, is the equivalent of the ability to grow 21 million pounds of pot or 7,202,408 gallons of wine. it serves 500,000 people in mendocino and sonoma counties. it serves appx. 1800 grape growers in sonoma alone. during drought conditions and restrictions once imposed by the state the growers and water districts on the russian river are required to reduce allocations to 50% by law. but again there is zero enforcement.
          cannabis is not an elephant in the room, people are discussing it at every level every day now. but a large portion of grape vinyards using illegally sourced water, and with a 15yr backlog on vinyard water permit applications and practically zero enforcement, it is not a level playing field by any means. and no one is discussing that( the 1800 rich large landholders in sonoma have been lobbying the politicians for years to keep it that way. you sir have fallen prey to your own bias and are clearly distorting facts.
          while one must agree that cannabis impacts the river, yes. But the water diverted to grapes is far more of an impact. how hard would it be for us to get 3000 or 5000 regulated licensed farmers in humboldt? what kind of voice would we have in the legislature if we outnumbered those 1800 voices in sonoma 2 to 1 or more? cannabis farmers could possibly be the largest unified group of farmers petitioning, and activating the legislature regarding this entire issue. since cannabis is taxed at a much greater level, our dollars can now represent our free speech as well. our ability to allocate funds toward lobbying is astronomical,if we were all legal and regulated, speaking together, one unified voice, we could potentially initiate the change to get some of that water back.
          but the divisiveness in this county, and the attitude of people like you to try to divide this community are what will eventually destroy this place and leave all of these people with no voice in state politics, but its ok.. w can all sit here and argue till we are blue in the face…and that seems to make many of us content. we are lost. and your personal efforts to destroy and divide this place are having an effect. you cannot protect the river from cannabis while ignoring grapes…period. you can crack a bottle of red and roll a fattie while acting as an expert from your desk. cheers.

          • This was a really thought provoking post. I wonder…in order for the water to be useful to the cannabis farmers in the eel River basin, it has to be available in the dry season. How do you propose that occur?

    • Y’all should know that a lot of food is grown with this water too!

      In a Mediterranean climate where we don’t get rainfall in the summer dry months, ALL of the we eat in California is stored somewhere – reservoirs, groundwater aquifers, etc.

      So before you get too critical you ought to know where your food comes from!

      I imagine that many Humboldt County residents eat local food grown by families in the Russian River watershed with Eel River water.

      It’s complicated.

  • I wonder if this means even tougher times for the Eel.

    • Gov't is about players not audience watchers.............

      I wonder if Robin Arkley will buy one of the dams. He is probably thinking Damned if I do and Damned if I don’t!!

  • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

    Hayduke lives!

  • How do we band together and buy this thing. Or better yet. Can we push the useless save the redwoods league toward something that might actually help our area

    • Save the Redwoods saved what has become Humboldt’s top tourist attraction from becoming just another tree farm.

      • What was that?

        • Lost Croat Outburst

          That was most of the State and National Redwood Parks such as Humboldt Redwoods State Park, etc., like when you’re driving along and all the trees are 300 feet tall. Yeah, they were all headed for rotational 60-year harvests if any soil was still left after poorly regulated logging. You wanna see some serious watershed annihilation, contact DFW for some of their old logging pictures. Talk about a war zone.

    • Aren’t you the one with the water truck, who said it was nobody’s business where you get the water from?

      • You have the wrong person. Lonny owns a business in Miranda–Workhorse Welding.

        • Are you sure he doesn’t have water delivery?
          Just saying lots of smart folks around are making money where they can. Off of water….
          And if they divert that much of our water shouldn’t we be able to use freely ? We would have plenty of water if it wasn’t shipped south…
          There is no talk of the newly legalized crop marijuana. And Humboldt being THE place to produce it!! Shouldn’t we be worried about keeping our water/ industry in our county given the future tax benefits of having these businesses in our county. If we are not allowed water rights as they already have on the Russian, what can we do. Until recently small irrigation water rights could not even be applied for in our area. How is that okay? While our water is shipped south the farmers there could get water rights but the same water right didn’t even exists in our region…. This is sad so sad for the future of our community. Get your water rights as quick as possible homboldt countians sounds like they will be worth their weight in gold Shortly…. hope california doesn’t try and challenge repairian rights once again, next…. It sounds like the only thing that matters is them keeping the diversion.
          I think we should look at minimizing the diversion.
          A complete stop could never be pushed all the way through but how about the idea of lowering the amount diverted ?
          Our salmon swim up the river tricked by the smell of our water coming down the wrong river. Is this not a sign of a need for change. I have gone rafting on the Russian while the eel was too low to do the same. We need regular summer releases from the dame to keep our river at proper levels into the future. We need the ability to make those releases larger in order to sustain the growing marijuana industry. We have a known name the question is if our county will allow us to use it or if they will act like we have to nice of an environment to fowl with industry. I say the community needs to be allowed to make a fight at least. No fight for this water or the rights to it will end badly for our county in the long run.

          • “Our salmon swim up the river tricked by the smell of our water coming down the wrong river.”

            Can you please explain this comment?

            And what do you mean by “Our salmon” and “our water”?

            BTW; the headwaters of the Eel River begins and flows through Mendocino County long before it enters Humboldt County. And the “growing marijuana industry” is not included as a beneficial use nor does it possess extraordinary scenic, recreational, fishery, or wildlife values!

  • Scott Christensen

    If the demand is down then there’s a
    Surplus. Why the hell are electric rates so high then?

  • Sierra Club, Redwood League, save the Eel River, anybody who cares about the salmon Fisheries tear it down. If a big earthquake hits is going to fall down anyway definitely not structurally sound already has lots of cracks in it.

  • Removal of the dam is the only ‘hope’ for the Eel.

    You can trace destruction of the river after they put in the Mendocino Dam
    to divert more water from the Eel. That’s what did it in.

    • Two cents worth, but can't even get a penny for my thoughts these days

      In addition to the reduced flow of the main Eel from the dam building, RR construction had a largely unknown but significant impact on the river. As Ray Mathison shared in The History of Alderpoint: “As they started building along the river, everything was pushed over the bank into the river. This was the beginning of the destruction of the river. Also the beginning of the end of the big salmon runs. By the time the railroad was completed in 1914, a tremendous amount of material had been pushed into the Eel River. A lot of this Eel River canyon had big landslides. When the railroad was built this started the landslides moving. These were also shoved into the river. Then they blew out the falls near Kikawaka slide. This, over a period of years, let a lot of mountain slide into the river.
      Most of this material was put into the Eel River in the wintertime when the river was high, and it got carried down river. It was not many years before the river started to fill in and it wasn’t many years before the ships could no longer run up river as far as Scotia.
      All of this….plus a few dry years in the early thirties caused the big salmon to congregate in the lower part of the Eel River. There were so many of them and with the water being so low, they ran out of oxygen and died by the thousands….”
      Mr. Mathieson describes how when he moved back to Alderpoint in 1940, the largest salmon were gone. Fall runs still brought a salmon run but no more of the six-footers. Fall rains came later and later, the railroad now had bulldozers and shoved material over the banks faster, filling a lot of the big holes, particularly in the lowest part of the river.
      Despite warnings about the RR being placed below the historic flood levels of 1885, 1909, and 1935, RR equipment was left on the tracks and the floods of 1955 and 1964 did a lot of damage.
      “After the 1964 flood when they built the RR back they blew most of the big rocks out of the river (I’ll never understand why) completely ruining most of the fishing holes.
      The holes that are left have been filled to where they are only about 1/3 of the original size.” (as of 1998) “I have a picture of one of these holes taken in 1913; it had three big rocks. Now it has none and is completely in ruins. This was a hole where salmon and steelhead used to school up and rest before going on up the river” He goes on to report casual use of bulldozers by unsupervised RR workers and a look the other way attitude by Fish and Game men: ” I asked the Fish and Game men in 1975 why they allowed this river to be destroyed, they claimed to know nothing about it, and I told them they surely did know. That ended the conversation.” pp. 59-61

      • Fascinating story. Also tragic and sad. I only wish it could be restored.

      • Wow! Thanks for sharing such interesting information. The river must have been truly amazing then.

      • Thank you for this historical information. The Eel River has sure suffered from a lot of abuse!

      • Lost Croat Outburst

        Thank you for this update. How tragic. We have some bad cannabis growers who must be reined in, but the devastation of the railroad, logging, and hydraulic mining have devastated our rivers to a degree that the farmers can’t match.

        • There was no railroad and there was no hydraulic mining on many parts of the Eel River. And the logging did nothing like the thousands of households with gardens sucking the water from every last possible water source.

          • Leaving Willits the rail line follows Outlet Creek (a major Eel tributary) to its confluence with the main stem of the Eel along the Covelo Rd. It then follows the Eel almost to its mouth. This is obviously not the entire length of the river but it is a pretty big part of it.

          • Guest: if you think logging did nothing Go look at at the 1942 and 1945 air photos after tractor logging took over. You will be amazed and disappointed. Every old growth tree dropped had a landing pad of soft dirt so it didnt split into toohpicks, then a maze of skid roads was built on every slope to drag a manageable section of the felled tree to a landing or loading zone.

        • Two cents worth, but can't even get a penny for my thoughts these days

          Always glad to add historical context… will briefly mention an article in the Humboldt Times from 1910 about an immense blast that was part of the construction of the RR line to the east of Holmes with the subtitle “Hundreds of Tons of Earth Thrown into Eel River”… but what I really want to share is a snippet from September of 1888 … while traveling south from Blocksburg Jeremiah Curtin passed through a fire in progress: “Leaving the fire region early in the morning, we reached Eel river at midday. It was hot in the ravine, and the water, covered with green slime looked so unwholesome that I decided to climb the mountain straight ahead of us.”

      • Here are some old (1914) and later footage (2009) of the Eel River Canyon Railroad (Northwestern Pacific Railroad)



  • Buy a good chunk of shares and put a shareholder vote to restore the river…make it sound good. I was part of a vote in Conoco where it was put to the shareholders a company wide ban on drilling in the Arctic, and it passed, stranger things have happened. Without a shareholder vote otherwise, the legal duty of the corporate officers and Board is to maximize shareholder value, which is what Moller was dickishly presenting. He was telling the community to get a good offer together or else because it is his legal obligation to maximize shareholder value.

  • See the government doesnt really care about our small dollars. Just like cannabis they only look at the bottom line $$$. Except they dont know crap about cannabis. Once they ruin it for us, they will abandon happily because its the ultimate goal for law enforcement and government. ERADICATE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN SELF EFFICIENT FOR DECADES. THE NEW REVOLUTION WILL BE SURVIVAL AFTER THE HOPES OF ACCEPTANCE AND LEGITIMACY BY THE MAN. IF YOU THINK U CAN TRUST THE GOVERNMENT ASK AN INDIAN.

    • You obviously missed the SOTU address, where they chanted USA right after POTUS pointed out they were finally freed.
      Freed from what?
      Ah, that’s a long story, but you can start with Part one and Part two of this video that explains who really controls the strings around the globe.

      Soon, very soon, we will be able to say “controlled” instead of “controls”. Smile!

      • Gov't is about players not audience watchers.............

        The only “news” organization that reported on Shipp was FOX and the likes of Shawn Hannity stated Shipp was bogus. I did a search and found Shipp’s book, but no references of the book’s accuracy from any reliable research news sources. I find it difficult to believe someone who states everything is secret. Just his word and no corroborating evidence from the likes of The Atlantic, The Republic, The New Yorker or C-Span, PBS, The BBC. Was he shooting from his hip Spooks?

      • Lost Croat Outburst

        In the SOTU speech, president Trump called for the ability to fire public employees who have broken faith with the American people. Under that rule, he should resign immediately.

    • Hey, keep smoking that weed, it’s not making you paranoid…

    • “The government” consists of millions of mostly honest, hardworking people doing their best working in the public interest, as defined by Congress and the courts. Each of these individuals has their own thoughts. “They” do not think alike. Your post is gibberish. [edit]

      • Gov't is about players not audience watchers.............

        Your keyword is “mostly”.

      • Yep and large corporations consist of thousands of employees, but it only takes a handful of directors to make the decisions for them all. You really think our government is still controlled by the people? Then why does it have a approval rating of only 28% and then why does everybody blame Trump for the woes, if the people control it?

  • Hope this dam can be removed, and the Salmon habitat restored.

  • I would be surprised if this was a “bombshell” for ERRC or Big Ag in Mendocino and Sonoma County.

    And if you have netflix, watch:

    Given the fact that Supervisor Fennell is on the ERRC and I know first hand of her private backroom deal history for private development and water use; IMHO, I would not hold my breath…

    The ERRC does not respect Essential Fish Habitat, Endangered Species Act, Evolutionarily Significant Unit (steelhead, coho, chinook) or the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. They have no track record protecting aquatic resources. They only protect the special interest of private and corporate water consumption!

    I don’t know which is worse, overreach from PG$E or ERRC?

    • I would like to know more about the private backroom deals. Can you please give the factual details?

      • As Humboldt County Supervisor and Humboldt LAFCo Commissioner; Ms. Fennell privately met, communicated, and discussed the plans and approval with the applicant of a County General Plan Amendment outside of a publicly noticed meeting. She approved this project and never publicly disclosed the ex-parte communication with or between herself and the applicant or applicants consultant as either Supervisor or LAFCo Commissioner.

        I was able to obtain this information through a Public Records Act request. It was a series of 40 email to and from Sup. Fennell, the applicant, applicant’s consultant, Planning Director and Planning Staff recounting private meetings, conference calls, communication and directing Planning Staff how to proceed with the applicants project. However, I was only able to obtain this information after the General Plan Amendment process had been approved and concluded.

        It is still my opinion that Supervisor Fennell: 1) should have disclosed this information during a public meeting and recused herself. Or 2) never taken part in the ex-parte communication, as she is voting on the project.

        • Thanks Ed.

        • I’m a believer in complete transparency by all who are engaged in public business. Your pursuit of information via the Public Records Act request is the type of action needed to achieve that transparency. No more secret back-room deals! No hiding your identity behind a mish-mash of corporations, holding companies, etc.

          I would hope that you can share your expertise in this area. As Trump endeavors to bring back the guilded age, we need a public that is informed by facts, not press releases and opinion blogs.

        • Gov't is about players not audience watchers.............

          Were you there when Fennel made her comments? If not how would you get the information if the “private” meeting was outside the public meeting? I would think she met privately so you would not hear the, “communicated, and discussed the plans and approval with the applicant of a County General Plan Amendment”. So where did you get the information? Gossip?

          • Like I stated above, I made a Public Records Act request and obtained email from Supervisor Fennell. Did you read my post above? The email confirmed that Sup. Fennell had been meeting and communicating with the applicant and applicants consultant in private and in some email, instructed the Planning Department how to proceed with the project. “Gossip”? No, just the facts. How in this case legislation and business is conducted in private by Sup Fennell. In this case, how private development and water use is determined and approved outside of public meetings in private, aka, “backroom deals”!

            If you contact Humboldt County CAO, they could provide the same public information I received:


            “I would think she met privately so you would not hear the, “communicated, and discussed the plans and approval with the applicant of a County General Plan Amendment”

            Wow, you think?

  • Envision the dams being removed, the waterways restored, the watersheds protected and flowing freely👍with solar, wind and decentralized safe, clean, sustainable bio friendly energy. #MAGA 🐸 Make America Green Again 💦💦🌎💦💦

    • great idea! lets tear down the dams and in time of drought all the rivers will be dry because the water ran into the ocean

    • I run my house off alternative energy solar, hydro and wind and a backup gas generators. If you want yours to be ran the same you have to do it yourself. large Central Power stations running off alternative energy is a very inefficient way to produce energy, there’s just too much energy lost in the power transfer. It would require huge amounts of acreage to produce enough power to run even a small town or city. The only way alternative energies will work is for each dwelling to have their own set up. at least until advance Technologies are released to the General Public. Hydroelectric dams are actually one of the better ways to produce alternative energy, without taking up huge swaths of land to do it. Wave generators are another good way to go. So is thermal Exchange.

      • Case and point. Not that long ago (2014) when the Garberville Sanitary District (GSD) built their new Surface Water Treatment Plant (SWTP), they only wanted to use 3-phase PG$E. At GSD meetings during the SWTP planning process and public comment period; we asked why they didn’t look at using solar or any other form of renewable sources. We were told the SWTP will use more electricity than what was available from renewable sources. It did not matter how many times we showed GSD that was BS, they did not even consider it and ended up with PG$E. It’s such a shame, since GSD could have included the renewable source into their public funding grants and zero interest loans. Just like at their sewer treatment plant, they could have put solar panels right over their percolation and settling ponds, but no.

        It wasn’t until I converted all my light bulbs to LED in 2012 (inside & out), that I saw a huge difference in my PG$E bill (60% less) and converted my roof into solar with battery backup. And now, the systems are even better and lower cost. There is no reason more people do not use solar on their roof….

        • It’s not too difficult for people around here to install alternative energy on their own house, but in lots of townships and City Limits it requires a lot of extra permits and fees to accomplish. You also have to have it installed by a license professional which increases the cost quite a bit.

  • Said the cat

  • I worked for Pg and E and Duke energy during Enron believe me. They are the cartel and the mafia and its a good thing. Its about $ this world. So if your cannabis aint worth money they are gone. So forget about small time anything. Pg and E will be growing your dope if it goes legal.

  • Funny dont see the words… Cape Horn Dam in this article… isnt this the issue? And the antiquated power system? Tear down Scott dam? get rid if Pillsbury? Not on PGE dime.

  • Tear it down. UNDAM the Eel. Give it back to the fish!!

  • Jerry Brown and his DWR could purchase this place.

  • Timothy McVeigh's ghost

    Wow 9 mega watts
    It was never about power generation just another water grab from the south. Can we have our water back now?

  • I have two dogs in this fight. First I own Rivers Edge RV park in Rio Dell since 2003. I always hear stories about what the river used to be. Right now it is a pathetic mess. It was worse several years ago before the City of Rio Dell stopped dumping treated sewer water. That made some but little difference because the water literally stops flowing for many months in the summer.
    Second I have owned and operated Six RIvers Solar for 39 years and install over 50% of all of the solar in Humboldt County. I have a large solar array (26kw) on the river bank which saves massive amounts of carbon (and money). Technology has a better method of generating electricity with benign solar energy. Not only is it better for everyone but it is cheaper than any other form of energy. In the popular vernacular of our youth “GET WOKE PEOPLE” . Be smarter than fifth grader and save money, save the environment and put America on the right path. And no coastal drilling either.
    Even though I am an environmentalist I always use to say “YOU CANT BE AGAINST EVERYTHING, YOU MUST BE FOR SOMETHING” I’m for solar and wind energy. GO SOLAR EVERYONE.

  • Good reporting and comments, but one thing should be explicit. Kelley reports:

    “However, Moller speculated that other, unnamed, entities may view the project differently. He was vague and refused to be more specific when questioned by Commissioner Jim Steele of Lake County.

    “During his formal remarks to the Commission, Moller mentioned the importance of the water transfer to the region multiple times. Sonoma County Supervisor Jim Gore spoke of the water rights that have developed over the century of the water transfer’s existence.”

    The Voldemort That Must Not Be Named here is the Sonoma County Water Agency. It would buy the PVP in a heartbeat if PG&E succeeds in washing its hands of it, which it’s wanted to do for decades. The Project has become all about water sent south. The electricity doesn’t matter. Not just Potter Valley farmers, Sonoma’s Alexander Valley premier vineyards need Eel river water to waste on protecting their spring blossoms against frost. Period. The lower Russian River has a guaranteed flow of 150 cfs to keep tourists knee-deep in summer water, period. This whole exercise seems like a wink and a nod so no one can say they weren’t told when SCWA buys the principle source of Santa Rosa’s drinking water. Seems like the fix is in, and they will finance the dog-and-pony show of relicensing the damn dam.

  • Rename this the McKinley Dam. Then tear it down.

  • Thanks, barefoot Charley. SCWA has been in control of water usage in most of the Russian River for many decades. They also are most likely to be able to raise the revenue to purchase the project from PG&E.
    For those of us who love the Eel River, the fish, and the natural planet in general have a hard time NOT vilifying people and agencies in the Russian River basin. The fact is that the PVP is over 100 years old, with the first water diverted from the Eel in 1908. Scott Dam, which impounds Lake Pillsbury and is an impenetrable barrier to the fish, was completed in 1922. Since that time hundreds of thousands of people in the Russian River basin have become dependent on that stolen water. Not all of them are “greedy,” or at least no greedier than the rest of us. The majority of them are working people, from farmworkers to clerks in stores, mechanics,, nurses, teachers, carpenters, plumbers, food servers, sales clerks, bank tellers, bus drivers, motel cleaners, etc. who all directly or indirectly benefit from the growth of agriculture of all kinds, and in particular in recent years from wine, along the Russian River.
    The issue is not who is “greedy” and who is “good,” but that the water belongs in the Eel River and the watershed needs to be open to migrating fish (and lamprey) from the mouth the headwaters. In order to get there, for practical and politcal reasons, but ALSO for social justice, other sources of water and water storage need to be found.

  • The pvp only supplies power to 3 -5 thousand people ? Seems like it’d be cheaper for pge to buy them solar then to operate and maintain that facility, definitely not worth the eel looking the way it has in the summers

  • Here is something about this from Friends of the River. the last three minutes are worth it:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *