Huffman Delivers $2 Million Grant for Sonoma Water to Study Potential Fish-Friendly Diversion to Russian River From the Eel River
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation [yesterday] announced a $2 million grant to Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) meant to study a diversion from the Eel River to the Russian River that will have the least possible impact on salmon and steelhead.
The crucial funding for this study comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Rep. Huffman helped author. Rep. Huffman personally advocated for this grant, which is a part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART program to support the study, design and construction of collaboratively developed ecosystem restoration projects that provide widespread regional benefits and improve the health of fisheries, wildlife and aquatic habitat through restoration and improved fish passage.
“Now that PG&E has decided to remove the dams, these federal funds will set us up to develop the Two-Basin Solution I have been encouraging for years,” said Rep. Jared Huffman. “In the face of compounding climate change impacts, dam removal and a modern diversion for water will help protect salmon and steelhead while ensuring a dependable water supply.”
“The Round Valley Indian Tribes are grateful that this funding is being provided to advance implementation of the Two Basin Solution, and we thank Rep. Huffman for his leadership on these issues,” said President Lewis Whipple of the Round Valley Indian Tribes.
“Funding for this design work represents a major milestone in the progress toward a true regional solution for the Potter Valley Project,” said Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore, who also serves on the Sonoma Water Board of Directors. “We’re grateful to Congressman Huffman for his efforts and advocacy in securing this grant. Through this planning process, we hope to create the best possible outcome for fish in the Eel River while also continuing critical diversions into the Russian River.”
PG&E has decided to remove the Potter Valley Project’s two dams on the Eel River that block fish passage. Sonoma Water, Mendocino Inland Water and Power Commission, Round Valley Indian Tribes, Trout Unlimited, Humboldt County, Cal Trout, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Round Valley Indian Tribes have proposed to continue a diversion to the Russian River in a way that is most protective of fish.
PG&E released an initial draft surrender application on Nov. 17 which includes several of the measures proposed by the coalition. PG&E’s final application is expected to be submitted by Jan. 29, 2025 and dam removal is expected to begin in 2028.
The Potter Valley Project has been diverting water from the Eel River into the Russian River watershed for more than a century, playing a critical role in supplying water for agriculture, homes, and instream flows to benefit aquatic ecosystems and threatened salmonids in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. Stakeholders of the new Eel-Russian Facility proposal sent to PG&E seek to build facilities to continue diversions from the Eel River into the Russian River as well as improving fisheries in the Eel River.
- An Expired License, a Mysterious Applicant, and a Threat to Sue: What Else Can We Expect as the Fight to Control the Waters of the Eel River Continues?
- ‘Everyone knew it was coming’: Eel River Waters Continue to Be Diverted as PG&E Granted Annual License for the Potter Valley Project
- Fish Fight: Two New Developments in the Ongoing Damming of the Eel Via the Potter Valley Hydropower Project
- Two New Decisions on the Potter Valley Diversion from the Eel River
- PG&E Signals That It Will Speed Up Removing Dam Which Helps Divert Water From the Eel River to the Russian River
- PG&E Plans to Remove Both Potter Valley Project Dams—Mendo, Humboldt, Lake and Sonoma Fight
- PG&E Proposes Reducing Russian River Flow and Transferring Potter Valley Project to Subsidiary
- New Proposal Over Eel River Water Diversion Plan Leaves Some Stakeholders Out
- Water Talks: Waiting on PG&E to Figure Out Life After the Potter Valley Project