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Native American tribes, nature enthusiasts, and environmental conservation groups have acknowledged the immediate need to reintroduce salmon back to the upper Eel River.
Scott Dam is located in Lake County within the Mendocino National Forest — and has completely blocked passage of salmon returns for 100 years. Since the building of Scott Dam on the Eel River, salmon numbers have steadily decreased to near nothing, compared to the historical runs of over one million fish per year.
The Eel River naturally carries water via mountain springs and tributaries from high mountain valleys in Mendocino National Forest to the river’s mouth in Humboldt County — while encompassing some 196 miles of multi-directional flow to the sea; making up California’s third-largest river system.
The water is diverted on the upper “Eel” in Potter Valley, through an aqueduct tunnel that supports annual flows to Lake Mendocino and the Russian River, supplying water to area residents all along the way.
Scott Dam is a aging, steep and massive structure positioned on a landslide prone hillside which endangers the safety of Potter Valley residents. It’s not likely that a functioning fish ladder can be erected on the face of the extremely tall dam structure, and in the event of dam failure, many residents would be displaced.
The dam is holding back one hundred years of mercury-laden-sediment-buildup which contaminates the water. Dam removal will allow for the harmful sediment to be safely removed and replaced with bedrock gravel that will naturally purify and clean the water for the fish, wildlife, agriculture, recreational and residential users.
Recent studies and data from similar dam removal projects prove that removing Scott Dam will increase salmon populations on the Eel River. Upstream of Scott Dam the mainstem Eel River consists of about 29 stream miles, which have been inaccessible to salmon and steelhead for over a century. Restoring native fish populations will encourage healthy biodiversity of the surrounding forest life, and will allow its return to a truly-natural state of harmony and well-being.
The ‘Two-Basin Partnership’ (TBP) ideally plans to keep the water flowing to Potter Valley, Lake Mendocino and Sonoma County, while removing Scott Dam.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will require completion of extensive studies to make an informed decision about the future of the Potter Valley Project. The goals outlined by TBP include: “(1) minimizing or avoiding adverse impacts to water supply reliability, fisheries restoration, water quality improvements and recreation enhancements in the Russian and Eel River basins; and (2) improving fish passage and habitat on the Eel River with the goal of recovering native migratory fish like salmon and steelhead, including full access to habitat upstream of Scott Dam.”
Restoring salmon to the upper Eel River will replenish this fragile ecosystem for fish & wildlife and bring great benefit for generations to come through long-term conservation and preservation of natural ecosystems that systematically function to cool the planet, prevent fire danger and provide clean, freshwater sources for residents, recreation and agriculture use.
Read more here:
[Two-Basin Solution Continues to Move Forward: https://www.twobasinsolution.org/…/two-basin-solution…/]
[The Eel River: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eel_River_(California)]
-Joel Thompson of the Peace & Harmony Foundation of Mendocino