Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Owning Scott Dam, Looking for Water in Potter Valley, Is Raising Coyote Dam Feasible?—Updates from the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission

Lake Mendocino from the North Boat Ramp, photo by Monica Huettl

At the April 13 Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission (MCIWPC) board meeting, there was a brief status update on the progress of the Russian River Water Forum (RRWF), the Potter Valley Project, and Lake Mendocino.

Russian River Water Forum

There have been two special meetings of the Upper Russian River water users in preparation for the upcoming first meeting of the Planning Group of the RRFWF. You can read about them in MendoFever.com’s previously published articles on March 31, 2023, and April 19, 2023. Sonoma Water, instrumental in forming the RRWF, has been talking to the Eel River and Tribal groups who will have representatives on the Planning Group. The first Planning Group meeting is scheduled for May 17, 2023, from 10 am to 3 pm at the Ukiah Conference Center. Sonoma Water is applying for more grant funding from the DWR to use for the Planning Group. This potential grant requires matching funds. MCIWPC will need to put in $150,000 and Sonoma Water will put in $600,000.

Part of the goal of the RRWF is to form a regional entity to take over the Potter Valley Diversion. Finding funds for this will be spread across Mendocino, Sonoma, and Northern Marin water agencies. A group of Upper Russian River water users is attempting to get permission from PG&E to tour the diversion facilities at Scott Dam and has signed an NDA.

At this time, it is not clear how much water will be coming through the diversion this summer. PG&E announced it will not close the gates on Scott Dam (which would result in lower water levels in Lake Pillsbury) and FERC told PG&E it cannot make this decision on its own. After some amount of time for PG&E to respond to FERC’s letter, FERC will announce a public comment period.

Potter Valley

The State Water Resources Control Board (DWR) has hired Jacobs, an environmental consulting group, to look at groundwater storage and possible well-drilling sites in Potter Valley. There should be a formal announcement coming soon, and a community meeting to discuss results in a few months.

Possibility of Raising Coyote Dam at Lake Mendocino

Congressman Jared Huffman’s office notified the Army Corps of Engineers, who manage Lake Mendocino, that funds for a study of the possibility of raising Coyote Dam did not make it into the Omnibus Bill. MCIWPC has applied for grant funds for a feasibility study on the possibility of raising Coyote Dam.

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Monica Huettl
Monica Huettl
Mendocino County Resident, Annoying Horse Girl.

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