‘LOLETA ERIC’ DESCRIBES WHAT SALMON ARE ENDURING WHILE WAITING TO SPAWN

banner spawners by eel river recovery project

Waiting for the River to Rise.  [Photo from Eel River Recovery Project]

Eric Stockwell operates Loleta Eric’s Guide Service and as a matter of business practice as well as love, he monitors river conditions in the Eel River for fish. Stockwell says he is on the lower Eel River almost every day. He talked about the current conditions and how the lower Eel River’s structural profile is degrading over time. The fish, he says, are struggling to survive in extremely low water for this time of the year.

Although rain is expected as early as today, it is nonetheless an extremely dry year and river conditions reflect that. Currently, the Scotia gauge is running at 100 cubic feet per second. Eureka rainfall totals for October and November average 2.25 and 3.5 inches respectively. This year Eureka recorded 8/10ths of an inch of rain in October and has received a mere trace thus far in November. That’s 10% of the statistical average.

Stockwell says that in addition to the late rain pattern that has developed over the last decade, the river channel is degrading. Simply put, sediment is filling in the pools where fish come in out of the salt water to wait for the river to rise so they can proceed upstream to spawn.

Expressing his goal for the future of the Eel River’s fishery he said, “My whole thing is that this culture should…idolize salmon. We should revere these animals. They should be our cultural icon and we should [make] all our moves based on helping these fish come back.”

In our conversation, Stockwell concentrated solely on the short section of river he called “the Chinook staging area” from south Fortuna to Fernbridge. He described the history of the stream-bed hydrology,

The history is there were deep holes all along the river…Down here in the lower Eel, it’s just gravel.

 

And, of course, it used to have giant redwood logs everywhere and that’s what provided hard stuff for the river to deflect off to create holes, runs and riffles…good river form.

 

But now there is no old growth wood on this river bar. It all gets taken. So all you got is gravel.

 

You got no bedrock. And the holes have filled in.

He said the changes have come to the point that disease can easily break out because so many fish have to be in one area for an extended time. He described what he’s seen in the last decade,

With these low flows in October and November incidents that we have had in the last few years with the drought or just late rainfall, I track these fish and they are just waiting and waiting. Usually they are in holes, but the holes have been filling in.

Last year was the worst I’d ever seen. I was reporting that to the agencies and telling them ‘Look, we have about a hundred big Chinook and a sturgeon in about five feet of water over here.’

Stockwell continued,

But then this year, when I started investigating the river in August, as the flows recede from Springtime, we can see how the low flow year is going to be….I discovered the holes were basically all filled in between Fortuna and Fernbridge.
We used to dive to count the fish, but now you only have one hole in Fortuna at 12th Street where the river runs up against the levy. That’s the hard thing that river can make a hole with.

When I asked for specifics about where the fish have been waiting since the Equinox on September 21st, Stockwell said,

They are in 3 foot runs, a 5 foot run, and 12th Street at Fortuna has over a thousand fish in it. It’s about 14 to 15 feet deep. It has a lot of volume.

 

So most of them are at 12th street, but there’s 500 along a run below some willows that’s 5 feet deep. There’s a hundred in a hole that’s much smaller than a swimming pool that’s five feet deep.

 

I was warning before the fish came in that the holes were filled in and wouldn’t have room for the fish, and now there they sit in shallow water.

2015 showed that a fish kill like the one that occurred on the Klamath is possible on the Eel River if conditions get bad enough.

Remember the river was really low, lower than this, and I discovered about 10% of the fish I was looking at were listless and not moving.

 

I put my paddle in front of their face. I was paddling over them in [three to five feet of water.] I put my paddle in front of their face and they don’t move. I see their eyes are milky.

 

Ten percent of the fish were blind.

That was related to sitting in algae ridden water that was not flowing enough….It turned out to be a fluke which is an organism that burrowed into their eyes and made them blind. Then they had a secondary brain virus that put them in a zombie phase.

 

So we had zombie fish.

This year, somehow, even with the extremely late rain, the fish are just now beginning to show signs of illness

“I’ve got one I am tracking here near Fernbridge that is blind. And Sal [Steinberg] saw one up at Fortuna.”

Although rains are expected Wednesday, Stockwell emphasized that the problem doesn’t end when the river flow comes up because these pools the fish use to wait in are continuing to fill in over time.

A lot of people, including some agency people, have the attitude like, ‘oh, it’ll be better when it rains….’ Well, I talk about this a lot… you need to think of river form.

 

We need holes. We need that wood. Not just to make the holes, but every piece of wood I see in this gravel has little animals around it. Everywhere else is just algae.

But the point is that the accumulation over time of gravel and silt, some from the ’64 flood, is parked here.

 

The river loses velocity and it loses power to move this stuff, when it doesn’t have those logs I was talking about, to create complexity in it.

 

So, Ive been advocating with the agencies. We need some change on the lower river.

Specifically, he said,

Let the gravel miners take a lot, lot more. And let them get in the channel to dig their gravel.

 

There’s so much gravel in the channel that shouldn’t be here from the big flood events.

 

And now it has led to these problems where we don’t have a good river channel and it keeps spreading out and eating away ranch land.

Loleta Eric talked about how the Chinook have been able to hold on.

The fish usually have these holes to sit in. And usually by mid-November there’s enough rain that they can move up and at least spawn in the main stem in the deep holes at Holmes, Shively or High Rock. These places that are known good spawning areas.

Main stem redds have more challenges for survival than those in tributaries, but success is possible he says.

People talk about main stem spawners and how the redds probably aren’t viable. And the redds are the salmon nests.

 

The reason they say that is because flows are going to come up so high in the main stem once it really does rain hard that people think they get washed out or silted in.

 

The redds need 30 days to hatch generally, depends on temperature. And then in another 30 days the little fry will emerge from the gravel.

Stockwell says that water from the Potter Valley Project can help in years like the one we are having.

There’s a big reservoir on this river. Right now it’s in the middle of [them] deciding who’s going to get it…Whether its going to keep diverting as much water to the southern counties, and there’s not a pressure from the culture here [to say] ‘No!’

 

I mean there are some of us who really care about this, but most people up here…it’s not on their radar.

 

But as a culture, we need to bring that pressure.

 

 

I think that if I went to the Bay Area and presented to groups, ‘hey look here’s the state of the Eel River. Here’s the state of the salmon. Here’s the lack of a priority to help this salmon run,’ I think that people would say, ‘oh, my gosh!’

 

Because how many people say, ‘oh, you live in Humboldt. It’s so beautiful. Its so green.’

And that is true, but those of us who live here know that there are components of the landscape that are missing, like 95% of the salmon run.

While Stockwell does have optimism, the situation is quite complex. There are many stressors. Stockwell said,

This is the front end of the run. More fish will come in from the ocean later, although we are hearing some bad things out of Oregon. The Chinook fishery is shut down on a lot of streams from what I hear, because the numbers aren’t showing and they have had some rain.

So there are things to worry about.

 

There’s a dead zone of the Columbia river. There’s the warm water blob that probably affecting things more than we realize.

 

Yet, here I am hopeful for the Eel River because for the last two years, we had the wet year of 16/17. That’s when I was helping Shane Anderson and Jason Hartwick with the River’s Last Chance and taking them around showing them the fish.

 

And then last year we had the unique pattern where we had the big break in December and in January there was a break. So the Chinook, the late Chinook and the Coho got a chance for their redds to ripen and I feel like it was good for production.

He works with Friends of the Van Duzen and with the Eel River Recovery Project to help study and work with regulatory agencies, but Stockwell says it’s a slow process to get the changes that are needed.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has jurisdiction, did not return a call for comment before deadline.

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126 comments

  • Good read. Is there anyway people can make holes for them?

  • The film The River’s Last Chance was very well done. We need more articles like this, too. Thank you for this article about the lower Eel River.

    • I just watched, so good! Highly recommend to everyone living in the area. You have to pay $3.99 to stream it, but it’s worth every penny.

  • Language is a legitimate part of the subject matter or content of English.

    ” . . Fish and Wildlife, which has jurisdiction, . .” because each corporate governmental service provider has a copy of their oath and bond on them, and will provide both for any one of We, the people, who requires to see them?

    Jurisdiction – The power, right, or authority to interpret and apply the law within the limits of which authority may be exercised. Black’s 6th Ed.

    Why would anyone trust so blindly those who have demonstrated so completely their untrustworthiness?

    • Why? Because they stand in the way of those who are much less trustworthy. Little is perfect and criticism can be fair. Certainly with the public pulling in different directions, there will always be complaints. Institutions exist because too many individuals are only interested in taking whatever they can at other’s expense. The only alternative to living in a constant state of dog-eat-dog violence is to turn over some total individual freedom to institutions in exchange for them limiting individual conflict. The only real debate is how much freedom and what limits.

      • “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” Franklin.

        • We aren’t giving up essential liberty. The liberty to irresponsibility take fish and game is worth giving up.

          • Here is the problem. We can’t restore what has been the distinctive source of strength in our civil society if we do not restore our understanding of personal self-government. We can’t restore personal self-government if we do not restore the limits to political government.

            Disbursing money from Washington only reinforces the idea that order comes from “the top.” Rather, we need to keep money at home, give power back to localities, and get active in the home-grown development of our civil associations.

            Above all we need to remind ourselves why our forebears fought: Self-government, in every sense of the word , depends first and foremost on individuals who insist on governing themselves. Otherwise we can look forward to becoming just another ordinary country like those found in Tocqueville’s Europe, then and now, with large government agencies drawing all responsibility to themselves and great Tory magnates demanding more taxes. Oh heck, we’re already there.
            Harmonizing Sentiments – Hans Eicholz

            • AMEN!! Well said, HumCo, very very well said!

              Practically every ‘division’ receives funding dependent upon how many ‘crisis’ factors they can drum up.
              Be sure to read the Court documents re the SF judge’s ruling over the “refugees”, for an overall aha moment.
              Who are the complainants”?
              What is their main complaint?
              Who appointed the Judge?
              Where was the judge born?
              Is the judge a ‘naturalized’ citizen?
              Who is profiting off the ‘processing’?
              Who is losing profits when they’re ‘processing’ is halted or slowed?
              Who pays their wages?

              What about the F&W?
              Police?
              Education?
              Healthcare?

              Questions that can get a person murdered for researching. Don’t use goo goo. Use Searx or goduckgo or any number of engines besides the b one and the g one for all political searches.

              • Thank you shak.

                I’ve used Startpage since it was first available.

                The “refugee” emigration subject is in the hands of an Appellate court that more than likely won’t opine until January or so. Then it’s Supreme Court bound. Not a “Sovereign County”(applied to the unincorporated areas), decision . . . even tho the vote was “countywide” Meas. Zish.

                • The case itself is another story altogether. My point was the ‘handling’ of the case. The courts, the lawyer labs, the ‘law industry’ are all fighting Trump over ‘loss of revenue’. He’s slowing their revenue. It has nothing to do with the people’s care and safety. It’s all about their ‘revenue’.
                  Go read the court documents!

            • Self-governance does not require fighting the government. In fact, fighting the government is not self-governance though we can pretend that it is. The American Revolution happened long before the revolutionary war. People were governing their own communities and took exception to moves by the Crown to overturn their self-governance. The war was the battle of the revolutionaries against the Crown’s counterrevolution.

              Are you developing community self-governance? Revolution is in the minds and actions of a community. Rebellion is not revolution.

      • Back up the truck just a little please.
        Define Freedom.
        Define Liberty.

        America is a Liberty loving nation.

        Freedom: Anything goes. No repercussions whatsoever. No moral code of conduct need apply.
        Liberty: Freedom with a moral code of conduct. We are free to enjoy our Liberties unless or until we take away another’s right to enjoy theirs. There are repercussions for a lack of moral code of conduct.

        We self govern our individual self until or unless we slip up. We are never ever to govern over others of adult age. They are responsible for their own liberty just as much as we are responsible for ours. They no more have the ‘right’ to assault another’s liberty anymore than we can theirs.

        Liberty is neither granted or denied by govt, unless or until we assault another’s liberty.
        This is where the democratic ballot is put to constitutional use. We are to vote on the penalties, not on the liberties.

  • They should think about closing the fishery on the Eel, at least in the estuary. Crazy how some people can make lots of money catching, lifting out of water to take photos and release, already stressed salmon. It’s a shame actually.

    • I agree they should probably get rid of all catch and release stipulations for salmon on the river, or at least put the estuary under the same flow restrictions as the rest of the river (which prevent you from fishing now). I haven’t known people that actually fish in the estuary area for a salmon, do you? I think Salmon fishing is generally too hard for people to bother with it for catch and release, haha. I wonder what Eric’s take on this is.

      • Yes people fish the estuary and at some times, lots. Some people are getting paid a $1,000 a day to catch and release, already stressed fish.

  • Eric, although there are many great observations and points you make in this article, I must respectfully disagree when you state:

    “Let the gravel miners take a lot lot more. And let them get in the channel to dig their gravel. There’s so much gravel in the channel that shouldn’t be here from the big flood events. And now it has led to these problems where we don’t have a good river channel and it keeps spreading out and eating away ranch land.”

    The only benefit to more instream gravel extraction are to mining operators, not the river, water quality or ESA, ESU and EFH.

    This idea you have, comes up time and again, with no basis of fact. On the surface it sounds reasonable, however, when you get into the hydrology and scientific study or movement of sediment, distribution, and water quality, what looks good on paper does a belly flop.

    Instream gravel mining study after study have concluded, less is more and in most cases harmful. Have you read the Lower Eel TMDL and response to comments?

    https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/www3/region9/water/tmdl/lower_eel/LER-responsiveness-summary-121807.pdf

    If you don’t believe me, ask Pat Higgins, he has extensive papers and studies on the subject.

    Here is one of many you might want to read, that was not funded by the Instream Gravel Mining Operators or Industry, which does happen from time to time, again, ask Par Higgins.

    https://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/reference_documents/esa_refs/gravel_policy_2005.pdf

    You might also want to talk with Randy Klein, Doug Jager, and Andre Lehre of what’s called “County of Humboldt Extraction Review Team” (CHERT). Here’s their latest report:

    https://humboldtgov.org/Archive/ViewFile/Item/1255

    Other than that, Thank you for reminding the public about the health of Wild & Scenic Rivers, i.e. Eel River watershed and salmon. Happy Thanksgiving…

    • Been staying at the Holiday Inn Express lately, huh?

    • Ed, you bring up some good points, but I think Eric is on the right path.

      We do need to remove more gravel, especially from the lower sections of the Eel River. The big question that needs to be answered is: How much more?

      There are two recent projects that have been proposed for the Elk River in Eureka, one by Cal Trout working with the Regional Water Quality Control Board and one with the City of Eureka proposing improvements on the estuary portion that they own. Both projects will cover the removal of sediment build up, placement of structure (large woody debris), and regarding of channels and elevated flood plains. In addition, the Martin Slough project also located on the Elk River was completed recently, it involved removing sediment, placement of large woody debris, and the opening up of additional flood storage areas.

      These projects would be smaller in scale than what would need to occur on the Eel but all have been approved and permitted by all wildlife, and environmental agencies, as well as the Coastal Commission.

      So they do support, and they do see, the benefits of these types of projects.

      I agree 100% with Eric, in that we need to do something, we need to elevate salmon to a culturally significant component of our community, and because some of the problems are associated with our management we need to come together and get it done. The sooner the better, before the salmon are lost forever from the watershed.

      • I agree. Also, while we’re hiring, I’d like to put in a plug for our Vets who are the best trained team players in the world. Give them a job, from paperwork to handing out the orders to completing the orders, they’re the ones who will get the job done when given the chance.
        Help a Vet get off the streets, clean up the environment, and watch our tax dollars be applied sensibly all in one go.
        https://twitter.com/RealTT2020/status/1064849207662587904

    • When historically all the rivers around here were deep, rocky channels (and by historically, I mean before the old growth was logged), and there is no debate over whether fish need deep, cool pools to thrive, and what is filling those deep, cool pools is sediment (rock and sand) from logging, how the hell can anyone deny that removal of said gravel could do anything but benefit the fish?

      You can do studies that measure water temperature, turbidity, blah, blah, blah, but the fact remains, sand and gravel from logging is filling the holes and killing the fish, and I don’t care what some college educated idiot has to say about it, getting that gravel out of there is the only remedy, especially in times of low rainfall.

      I read somewhere where a fool with a degree was saying that too much gravel removal destroys the natural riparian habitat. That habitat is buried under five feet of gravel, and if he’d got his head out of his books long enough to see the real world, and talk to some of the old timers who remember what it was like before sedimentation, he would have realized how foolish that statement was.

      I believe that since it’s the behavior of man that has choked the rivers, we are morally obligated to clear them out, and the hell with any “environmentalist” who claims to be protecting the rivers by blocking the one thing that could restore their health.

      • Steve Parr,

        Point well taken.

      • Steve,
        I read all 3 of Ed’s references and they actually support Eric’s and your point. Eric is not proposing random, greedy, unregulated mining activity but designed restoration focused gravel removal.
        In the first paper EPA says that gravel mining activity doesn’t inherently reduce water quality with respect to sediment. The EPA dismisses a couple of valid points that Ed and EPIC make but if it is read all the way through it provides a pretty good primer on how environmental policy is set by an agency.
        The second paper from the National Marine Fisheries Service presumes profit focused gravel mining that takes gravel for maximum yield and minimum effort. We could instead design restoration based gravel production. If the report’s post extraction restoration recommendations were used as the basis for gravel mining, and if we took into account your and others local knowledge of historic conditions, we could produce available gravel and improved fish habitat.
        The third report from Humboldt County actually demonstrates that in two instances mining activity was made more damaging by being left unfinished.

        No sense in being afraid of people thinking, using whatever strategies we happen to have best developed. Educated folks and bureaucracies have certain approaches. Experienced folks have certain approaches. If we take a creative cross section of both we may come up with better answers. Sometimes people don’t always tell the truth about what they think, or what they read or what they know. That’s usually dangerous

        • Well thought out and well researched. What most people don’t take into consideration is that the current condition of the rivers is not their natural state, and they consider gravel mining a horribly destructive, greedy enterprise, not realizing that, for once, mining and ecological restoration and healing can be one and the same thing.

        • “Eric is not proposing random, greedy, unregulated mining activity but designed restoration focused gravel removal.”

          No, he’s asking to make it much worse, Eric is asking to “let them get in the channel to dig their gravel.”

          Do you guys all work for the gravel industry?

          • Ed,
            Your sources don’t say what you say they do. I read them all. In fact EPA responded (incorrectly in my opinion but that’s what they said) that gravel mining didn’t have an adverse effect on sediment because it removed sediment.
            The HumCo report said that few adverse effects were created by the mistakes in gravel mining in 2017. Two of the problems noted were actually caused by (in their opinion) the failure to complete the gravel mining.
            I’ll use your sources to study things but I’ll never again trust your characterization of what they say.

            • “Your sources don’t say what you say they do”

              So what did I say, that you thought, the sources were going to say?

              “I’ll use your sources to study things but I’ll never again trust your characterization of what they say.”

              First off, you cherry pick what you want, twist it and characterize it to what you want to hear, by a person calling themselves “B.”. However, you cannot even reference the page or section in any of the sources you characterized or said you read. Nor will you answer my simple question; “Do you guys all work for the gravel industry?” Because it sure sounds like you do…

  • I live on Meyers Ave. in Eureka. Just down the hill is Martin Slough. A major construction project has been going on for months. That slough has been completely overhauled from the pump station on up for farther than I can see. It was widened, deepened, contoured, and log piles were placed – all to improve fish habitat. The Fish & Wildlife Service (and perhaps other agencies) did the work. Surely if a small slough can be overhauled to this degree then sections of the Eel that need cleaning out can be improved. I don’t know where the funding came from but if you’re curious you could find out.

    • Where else could funding come from other than you and me/we the people, via taxation?

      The government has no money of its own, only what the people give it. The government has no power of its own, only what the people grant it.

      • And your point is?

        • The government is a corporation (artificial person). It is a fictitious entity that has no natural rights and power. It’s main source of power comes from feeding on the energy of the people.

          • I’d agree but I don’t think of that as necessarily negative. It’s what people do who assemble for mutual advantage.

            • Mutual advantage? A group of moneychangers?

            • Waiting 10 years for desk jockey’s to file all needed paperwork vs community members rallying fundraisers for a year to get things done?
              I’ll vote the latter for “mutual advantage”.
              It wouldn’t be polite of me to share my thoughts on the prior.

              • I went to moneychangers in a feeble attempt at removing the economic part. The reason we keep running like a mouse on a wheel is that no one dares to look at the ‘cause’ of the ongoing condition we seem fated to endure. Either we truly don’t know, or we’re afraid to admit, that our biggest problem today is not an economic problem, it’s not a political problem, and it’s not a military problem.

                The problem facing humanity today is a spiritual problem. It has to do with ‘beliefs’.

                Before there were classrooms, meetings, or group facilitators, there were people sitting around talking, debating.

                “We can take courage from the fact that this is a process we all know how to do. We can also take courage in the fact that many people are longing to converse again . . . we are awakening an ancient practice, a way of being gathered that all humans intimately understand.” –Misses Wheatley

                This is what the Evolution Revolution is all about. It is a call to people everywhere, gathering in small groups of spiritual activists around the world, to ignite a global conversation that will ‘sow seeds of sanity,’ producing at last the ‘civilization of Civilization.’

  • I appreciate the article and appreciate Eric’s efforts. How do we get involved? Seems there is always a contingent of gun shooting and 4 Wheeling folks near the river bars in Humboldt area. Is there a way to recruit these outdoor enthusics to help reconstruct the river holes? Maybe a Grass Roots campaign advertising in gun shops and off road vehicle businesses to recruit volunteers.

    • i don’t have any input about the use of the riverbar, but if you’re interested in the use of the Eel River from the Potter Valley Project, you can attend the Eel Russian River Commission meetings and you can follow PG&E’s Project 77 with FERC.

      I’ll be posting a report here on KymKemp.com in the next few days about their last meeting.

  • They could release water from Pillsbury Reservoir if it were deemed important.

    That it isn’t happening speaks loudly and clearly.

  • How about bringing attention to “Geoengineering” the climate? This drought is man made via HAARP, NEXRAD, satellite transmitters, etc. For some reason the ones in charge are starving Calif. of rain. One only has to look up to see the madness with the in your face Chemtrails.

    Read the video description and COMMENTS here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzeeDANUfoI

    Also here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cr99pXaPtk

    • please explain the change in worldwide weather. last time I checked, all geoengineering attempts, which appear to have ended, were to make it rain during this global climate change. the ones in charge want to make money, not lose it, and being evil is risky in many ways, look how well Russia is doing and North Korea. they both are what you would call broke.

      • You haven’t looked into it much. Check out geoengineeringwatch.org for good info on the subject. Geoengineering is all about control, power, and making money.

        on the subject of the salmon I have never understood why fish and game don’t just take some heavy equipment and dig out holes all along the river early in the summer time to create fish habitat. Its kind of a cheap, effective simple solution to a serious problem.

      • “…which appear to have ended…”

        Don’t get outside much, do you?

        • “Which appear to have ended” LOL!!! They are happening all the time almost every single day. Remember how the sky actually used to be completely blue without a cloud in the sky very frequently (unless you live on the coast of course). Now pay attention and go outside and count how many days there are with no clouds. They are very infrequent. Do you think the constant cloud cover and lack of blue skies could have something to do with geoengineering maybe?

          Ive spent more time outside looking at the sky than the vast majority of people in the last ten years. Go look for yourself.

          • I disagree. I noticed contrails starting last year. I sit outside in a chair looking to the west daily, that’s the plan anyway. some days I don’t get to. have you analyzed your soil for Al? $22.50 per sample.

            • I have, the levels are off the charts.

              • at what are your levels in mg/kg.

                • 70,000 ppm. aluminum makes up 7% of the earth and generally isn’t toxic at normal levels when it’s molecularly bound to other elements. However the pure aluminum nanoparticles they spraying are super toxic. They easily enter the body through the lungs and are even able to cross the blood brain barrier and get lodged in the human brain.

                  Autopsy’s of Alzheimer’s patients show extremely high levels of aluminum and the global bee die off has also been linked to high levels of aluminum. Of course the power structure will never admit the link.

                  Go do a sauna bro, it will cleanse your mind and detoxify the aluminum out of your body.

                • 70,000 mg/kg is background levels for Eureka. Crescent City is >10% (>100,000 mg/kg). Shelter Cove is also >10% as is most of Northern CA. US Geological Survey Professional Paper 1270, 1984.

            • Alzeheimers has been connected to heavy metal toxicity. Who knew that an industrial focused economy would end up killing the fish. I don’t think any of us want to actually acknowledge that there’s some real nasty stuff being done in the name of research. I remember looking into
              Unethical_human_experimentation and voila, there’s quite a history of men in white lab coats doing some questionable shit to their fellow human beings. So, feed a fish, eat a fish, help a fish, hurt a fish, there are people who have a completely different view of life and the pursuit of …. (insert best feel good word).
              History has shown us the best and worst of our species. Just because you didn’t get the memo, or a family friend has some insider information that he may not be able to share with a uninformed group…there is always more questions after an honest and transparent look at way humans conduct themselves.

              • heavy metal toxicity started back when you could take a bite out of a goblet. the start of epidemiology was 15th century. Alzheimer’s seems new in the past century.

                • Maybe it’s just us?
                  We’ve forgotten who we r eely are…
                  It just takes a huge leap of faith to ignore the same old operating system that has created money that is no longer backed by those same heavy metals.

                  Dont hate the hatter… hate the hat?

    • Somewhere between death by vax-a-nation and planned climate collapse is the path before us.

      “All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men and women to do nothing.”

      When they came for Roger Elphick, i did nothing.
      Then they came for Gene Keating, i did nothing.
      Then they came for Bernard von NotHaus, i did nothing.
      When they isolate, medicate and steal the estate, i do nothing.
      Now they’re coming for California. Maverick Beach next stop.

    • prof quiz,
      are you trying to get a rise out of me?

      geoengineering is not causing the climate to fail. you and I are. everytime we drive our cars or turn on the air conditioner or the generator or put food in the refrigerator and freezer.

      geoengineering, haarp, and etc are responses to climate change.
      out of the box thinking is great, but the thinking part is really essential.

      Gaia, or Earth’s systems, sequestered zillions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere into the land in the form of fossil fuels over hundreds of millions of years.

      carbon impacts the atmosphere and causes energy to hang around longer.

      humans have released millions of tons of that sequestered carbon in a century.

      That carbon we have released is impacting the climate by keeping the sun’s energy in the system longer.

      i dont support geoengineering. i am not defending it. i am trying to articulate its actual role in the problems we face.

      • Are you familiar with backdoor in all technology? Wifi & Bluetooth only enabled devices. Ever think of why your coffee maker needs wireless connectivity…?
        That mentality is exactly the clue to understand anything else that is put out for public consumption. If you were a Hollywood scriptwriter, you’d understand how they craft the story to bring you along believing in the fiction, the whole time. It takes a smooth and well worn story telling tradition to wrap your head around the ART of propaganda. Just try to think of how sophisticated our technology is and how advanced our algorithms have become to begin….Just try to begin to understand that we truly don’t even know anything about this reality on a metaphysical and nanoparticular level. To assume that you/we haven’t been lied to since day one, is a bold statement to our ignorance.
        I could be totally wrong as well.

        When we have the technology to make gas powered cars, obsolete and yet that technology will get deployed like the family of iPhones, with the advances metered out to fit the algorithm of the purchasing public. Everyone would drive a hydrogen fuel cell car, and all the other free energy devices that have been disappeared and labeled as national /corporate security issue.

        We are both the problem and the solution. The Yin and the yang. They are incomplete without each other.

        It’s like Bobby Fischer playing checkers. Too much brain power misappropriated…and therein lies our biggest challenge. How do we keep the next generation of Bobby Fischers managed and controlled?

        You create a new paradigm…and make it inescapable.

        • Free energy devices? Unlimited energy yields unlimited waste heat. Unlimited energy also means unlimited unintended consequences.

  • Wow, great article!
    This is where I wish our reps would utilize our tax money by awarding innovative ideas and methods to achieve helpful techniques.

    The wild adventurous ones like to layer sand, charcoal and gravel into buckets and barrels to filter their water sources. Imagine if we could do something like this for our river and fish and put that gravel to good use.

    Isn’t this the time of year when they used to release the Benbow dam (finished stage) to help relieve the water loss in the river and to prepare for the winter’s rain storms?

    Thank you for your well informed input so that the rusty gears in our minds can begin brainstorming solutions.

    • Unfortunately California has accepted pot growing, that is diverting and polluting our water ways. The people that say logging is the culprit are right, but pot growers are Northern California nightmares. P.S. Wait till all the rain hits and the fire burn areas change the PH balance in the streams this year!

      • Thankfully there were no major fires in the most sensitive watersheds this year. Carr fire will drain mostly into the Sac, River and Ranch fires into clearlake, and Hirz and Delta into Upper Sac.

      • The diverting issue can be easily lessened by (?). Creating low % interest loans towards water cachement systems? Dismantling and auctioning off the water lines and tanks confiscated from illegal grow sites on so-called ‘public’ properties? Awarding growers who have innovative water cachement systems that stand on their own? (the desert farmers have very creative systems for instance). Limiting the grows in accordance with private water sources? Name some of the ways and ideas that might help reduce the strain.
        The pollution? Demanding the release of accurate measurements regarding the claims by the clipboard jockeys who are fining the landowners and smearing their names in the papers for having a pollution “close” to a water source? Define ‘close’. Awards for innovations that clean up the pollutants that ruin our sources? Promote good habits and methods? Ban the sales of main pollutants in our local stores? Form groups to officially physically and intelligently help others to come into sensible compliance? Form educational classes in high school and community colleges to teach our youth how to become respectable farmers? What are some of the ways to help identify and reduce the pollution?
        Sorry so lumped together in paragraphs. Single file questions are always easiest to type and to read, but I’m trying to make shorter posts. (rolling of eyes accepted here).

  • They will spend millions to save a bug, a frog or a plant. Why not use a few million to set up a batch plant. dig out the sand and gravel, mix in the cement and make “logs” or huge concrete blocks they can strategically place in the river to form more holes naturally? If real logs are used there will always be some fool who will start to cut off pieces of it or worse, try to burn it.

    • its the winter flows that change the holes. last year most of the holes I fish in the smith were the shallowest I have seen in a while. the eel lost its bank a long time ago and nothing is going to change that except a long time without our great ideas that only fail. it has already been determined that is you remove vast amounts of gravel, you get vast amounts of silt deposits as an elevation replacement.

      • “Nothing possible” is a gloomy and oppressive phrase.
        “Nothing impossible” is a hopeful & exciting phrase when open minds brainstorm ways to get something accomplished.
        We make ponds don’t we?
        We make canals don’t we?
        We make …… don’t we?

      • Hey Local Observer,
        I am suspicious of the gravel industry as I am with any industrial process. However, for now, even though I use gravel removed from gopher mounds on my own personal vehicle paths, on the public highways I am using gravel obtained industrially. I don’t like mountain top removal since that only puts more gravel and other sediment into play. But maybe that’s the best approach.

        What are the details of the studies that show that all industrial restoration efforts for stream beds that might produce gravel fail. To do a thought experiment about the supremacy of natural methods for all restoration, should we walk away from the Scott Dam and let it fail? Drain the water and leave the gates open first? I’ve seen road removal/restoration work faster and better than just walking away and leaving the whole thing to fail until it succeeds. If we factor in the industrial inputs that must have come from somewhere to do the work, is it really a benefit?

        I’m inclined to believe that all currently used commercial methods fail, but I’d like to see what the exceptions are, if any.

    • Good idea “Be Responsible” There already ARE batch plants along the Eel and Van Duzen. Mercer Fraser could build some along the box cars and below. Any old growth trees that get into the river will be harvested by people for various reasons but no one wants to take a saw to a concrete log! The stream restoration gurus are putting logs back in the river in strategic spots. I suppose the ecologists will pitch a fit about the concrete leaching into the streams but I like your proposal.

      • Slightly confused about the concrete situation. One guy puts it in the Duzen and all hell breaks loose, but for some reason if you make concrete logs, it’s ok?

  • One day the salmon will rise up, organize, and take revenge on the humans who made this mess.

  • Why are there so few fallen trees in the river? Is it from flood activity or are people allowed to remove and sell the logs as reclaimed lumber?

    • I would be curious of the same question, if Eric or anyone knows. I am guessing its not legal, but hard to police.

      • This is a good read and might answer your question about Large Woody Debris (LWD):

        https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8157.pdf

        One example about why people take tree’s off the river bar; next time you go to Tooby Park, check out the redwood fence around the play ground. All that redwood came off the river bar, milled and used for that fence, same with all those big blue rocks, came from the river. As far as I’m concerned, they should be left in the river…

        • I agree, they should be left in the river where not a problem.
          Try telling that to the clipboard jockey’s who can’t wait to pull the bic and write you up with a fine for your ‘trees and soil slide” polluting the river.
          #FixThePolicies!

          • https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj9qvBwOeMA

            “Western people will compete to sell you the rope by which we will hang them with”. Vladimir Lenin

            A friend directed me to this talk with Mr. Prager. Sometimes you need your tanks filled with premium, when this back and forth seems to wear our mpg down.

            Cheers Mate!

            • Dennis was spot on in many of his thoughts wasn’t he.
              “The bigger the state {Govt}, the smaller the people” is so true it hurts.
              Thank you for this video, it’s one I’ll look forward to rewatching every time I run across it in the future, for it’s many gems. Thanks Sid!

              • Education is a life long journey. I get inspired by the people who understand it without hate, anger or division. It’s key to helping others wrap their heads around this spinning wheel we lose sight of. I’ve been a huge fan of John Taylor Gatto and his work on the history of education. There are quite a few of his talks at altruists.org and archive.organization
                https://archive.org/details/AnUndergroundHistoryOfAmericanEducationByJ.T.Gatto440

                • It will take a lifetime to read all his works lol. I have a feeling I’ll really enjoy them once I get started. Like you, I’m inspired by those with a level head and I try to refrain from taking to heart any ‘bias’ and division. Thank you for pointing him in my direction!

        • Back in the 70s, and maybe earlier, there was a guy along the Eel with jet boat (water propulsion instead of propeller) who’d wait for the river to come up, then hook up big logs and tow them home where he’d buck ’em up and sell them. That was before people understood the importance of big logs in creation of habitat structure for fish. The problem now is that the only big trees are in the park. So, yeah, we need to do some creative structure building with the smaller logs available today and whatever else can be brought to bear.

  • “He works with Friends of the Van Duzen and with the Eel River Recovery Project to help study and work with regulatory agencies, but Stockwell says it’s a slow process to get the changes that are needed.”

    Does Friends of the Van Duzen and Eel River Recovery Project share Stockwell’s sentiment regarding “Let the gravel miners take a lot, lot more. And let them get in the channel to dig their gravel.”?

    • If they don’t, they’re not “friends”, and they’re not interested in recovery.

      • the data speaks for itself. many test have already been performed. if you dig a big hole, it fills with silt, which is bad. I could go on and on. nutshell version – let mother nature carve the river bed we don’t get it.

        • I trust you explicitly. . . however, I’d like you to provide me your sources. I am hopeful that they are detailed enough to show how and why all of the attempts failed.

          I’m inclined to believe that all industrial fixes just generate industrial problems. It’s just that I decided to engage in an industrial activity by owning a car and using the internet. So go ahead, I’ll read your industrial research. If it doesn’t prove what you say it does I’ll know a little more about reality. If it does prove what you believe it does I’ll know something else.

          • An honest man would know that real knowledge wasn’t meant for the masses. Silt for the mind, my friend,
            silt in your lungs,
            silt in our thoughts,
            Silt in our eyes. Our senses become dulled.
            Such profound depth In the shallows of our breath.

        • local observer,

          Your awareness is the most spiritual powers you have.

          Nature was never meant to be manipulated. “Goodness me, could it be industrial disease”?

        • local observer, you’re being obtuse with your, “…dig a big hole, it fills with silt…” comment.

          No one is suggesting that digging a big hole will help the salmon. What is suggested is carving a channel through the gravel, so water will flow, pools will form, and fish will live.

          The salmon don’t have time for nature to carve a new river bed. With the low flows of recent years (and even if the flows were as high as the sixties and seventies), we’d be dead and gone, and so would our kids, before enough gravel flushed out naturally to recreate a healthy channel.

          By that time, the salmon would be alive only in stories told around the campfire about the good old days.

          • Steve Parr, where is all your source information for this idea of yours , i.e.

            “What is suggested is carving a channel through the gravel, so water will flow, pools will form, and fish will live.”

            Is it just a WAG (wild ass guess) or a SWAG (scientific wild ass guess)?

            Are you affiliated with the gravel or river restoration industry?

            The earth was not formed my humans, but as we know, it has been corrupted by humans. Leave nature alone, its what got us in trouble in the first place!!!

          • the river carves a new channel every year, every river does. every year I go to any of our rivers there is change I notice. the data I am using is form the actual gravel miners at the confluence of the van. the aren’t allowed to dig holes anymore, and it’s for the reason I cited. now they scrape and maintain an elevation that is spelled out in their SMARA permit. without the trees on the banks, we will have to wait. the fish will outlast us without doubt. the atlantic salmon and halibut came back to new England after 100s of year.

  • The squawfish and the pot growers are big causes of the fish declines in the eel. The squawfish were introduced circa 1985 and they eat all the fry and the mega pot grows have sucked the summer flows dry, and the phosphates and pesticides have combined to worsen the water quality. We have been denied increased summer flows from Van arsdale dam. Instead it all gets diverted to the Russian River. The gravel operations take from the sides and shallow and braid the lower river. So it’s a multitude of problems. The watershed keeps being logged too at much too fast a pace. The trees don’t have a chance to get big and provide a cooling water absorbing environment. And then there is the road building and the railroad damage and overgrazing. And the overfishing in the days prior to catch and release and it’s still going on in the ocean. And then the fact that we are underrepresented by being part of California instead of Oregon where they are proactive about fish.

    • Animals And fish need nutrients that are formed on elements that once came from crushed rocks. Now elements fed to water are from agriculture,and as limited as is NPK.we are as dust in the wind. Inland plankton is as element complete as can be.

  • So many agencies are dragging their feet on the Squawfish issue. We could have those suckers wiped out in a couple weekends if they had some sense.

  • Sorry folks, Jeffersonian nailed it… Dam it, introduce a predatory fish that could survive pretty much anything the Eel could throw at it, and suck the water out in the summer. Blame it on whatever blows your skirt up, including logging, gravel mining, road building, blah, blah blah… Any one want to wager against the bet that the Sonoma/Mendo vintners buy the Scott and Van Arsdale nightmares to keep the rape of the Eel at current levels?

  • Thanks Eric, I appreciate your great work. Please keep us informed.
    (Middle Fork)

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