Greetings Friends, 

Have you heard the latest news from PG&E? The company appears to be finally taking dam safety seriously! In a press statement published last week, PG&E announced that due to new information and updated seismic analysis, they will never again close the gates on top of Scott Dam. This will permanently reduce the Lake Pillsbury reservoir capacity by about 20,000 acre feet. The company says they made this decision "out of an abundance of caution in the interest of community safety". I love this part - we told you so, PG&E! 

Click here to read our press release and access our trove of documents on dam safety, and see below for additional details.

In other news, Northern California summer steelhead were featured in Sierra magazine this month. Eel River dam removal remains the best chance at a future for these critically endangered fish. As biologist and summer steelhead expert Samantha Kannry puts it, "summer steelhead are on the verge of extirpation, and most people don’t even know they’re here".

Connect with us at events

Finally, there are a number of fun ways you can connect with us over the next several months. First, tonight is the first of several upcoming workshops for the Great Redwood Trail Agency's master planning process. See below for details about the events tonight in Fortuna and tomorrow in Willits.

Next, Friends of the Eel River's first open house in over three years is next Wednesday, March 29 from 5 - 8pm at Synapsis in Eureka. We're really looking forward to connecting with folks and have some fun activities planned! See below for details. 

For the entire month of April you can see our display in the Community Case at the Clarke Historical Museum about our decades of grassroots activism. And if you stop by during Arts Alive on April 1 you can even visit with our staff and hear the latest updates first-hand.

Finally, during earth week you can catch us at Redwood Curtain Brewing Company's Myrtletown Taproom for Pints for Nonprofits on April 19, or at Eureka Natural Foods' Earth Day Celebration on April 22. See below for details.

We look forward to connecting with you!

PG&E Admits Scott Dam Faces Serious Seismic Risks

As mentioned above, PG&E announced last week that they will never again close the gates on top of Scott Dam. This will permanently reduce the Lake Pillsbury reservoir capacity by about 20,000 acre feet. The company says they made this decision "out of an abundance of caution in the interest of community safety".

In a filing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a few days later, PG&E explained that a March 14 memo from their engineering consultants Gannett Fleming, Inc is what prompted this sudden action to reduce the volume of water in the reservoir. The referenced memo is, of course, classified as Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII) and not available to the public, but it's clear that the contents of that memo startled the company enough to prompt immediate action.

Friends of the Eel River has been focused on the questionable dam safety analysis at the Potter Valley Project for years. We’ve even gone so far as to publicly question whether PG&E is concealing dam safety liabilities.

Analysis of the San Andreas Fault system by the USGS reveals that the Bartlett Springs Fault, one of three major structures in the system, is capable of producing up to a magnitude 7 earthquake. We also know, from a study we commissioned by Miller Pacific Engineering in 2018, that the active landslide adjacent to the south abutment of Scott Dam presents significant geologic hazard to the dam.

And of course, we can’t forget about the unusual construction of Scott Dam. As we outlined in one of our dam safety blogs two years ago, Scott Dam had to be redesigned mid-construction to accommodate a large unstable boulder that was originally thought to be bedrock. This boulder, named “the knocker”, now sits just behind the dam near the sharp angle that resulted from the seat-of-the-pants redesign back in 1920. Without more transparency from PG&E, we are left wondering whether that design change resulted in a weaker structure.

This reduction in reservoir capacity may make it more challenging for PG&E to maintain temperatures appropriate for salmon and steelhead. However, thanks to our pending Endangered Species Act litigation against PG&E and FERC, both entities are on notice that continued harms to Eel River fish will not be tolerated. We have reason to believe that the National Marine Fisheries Service will once again be firm that PG&E must maintain at least a 30,000 acre foot pool of cold water in the reservoir to ensure that downstream releases are cold enough for native fish to survive.

Further reading here.

Upcoming Events

What: Friends of the Eel River Open House
When: Wednesday, March 29 from 5 to 8 PM
Where: Synapsis (1675 Union Street, Eureka, CA)

We look forward to sharing updates on our work, especially progress on the Eel River dam removal while enjoying music, entertainment, and the company of good friends.

This event is free and family-friendly. Music provided by Ponies of Harmony. Drinks and appetizers will be provided, and donations are gladly accepted.
What: Great Redwood Trail Master Plan Workshops
When: Wednesday, March 22, 6 - 8 PM and Thursday, March 23, 6 - 8 PM
Where: Fortuna and Willits

Join the Great Redwood Trail Agency for community workshops to support the development of the trail Master Plan. Click here to RSVP for the Fortuna event, or click here to RSVP for the Willits event.

What: Eel River Forum
When: April 4, 11 AM - 3 PM
Where: Covelo Public Library Commons, Covelo, CA

Do you want to learn about upcoming conservation and restoration in the Eel River watershed? 

The next meeting of the Eel River Forum will be in Covelo. California Trout and partners are presenting an overview of a new Conservation & Restoration Program for the Eel River watershed.

Click on the image or this link for additional information.


What: Pints for Nonprofits 
When: April 19, 11 AM - 10 PM
Where: Redwood Curtain Brewing Company Myrtletown Taproom (1595 Myrtle Ave Eureka, CA)

Support Friends of the Eel River during Pints for Nonprofits at Redwood Curtain Brewing Company’s Myrtletown Tasting Room on April 19. $1 from every pint and goblet sold throughout the day will be donated to Friends of the Eel River for our work to recover the Wild and Scenic Eel River and the endangered fish that call this river home.

Grab a drink and come say hello. We’ll be there from 5 - 7 PM to raise a glass with good friends and drink for a good cause.
What: Eureka Natural Foods' Earth Day Celebration and Change 4 Change
When: April 16 - April 22
Where: Eureka Natural Foods
Eureka Natural Foods invites Friends of the Eel River to celebrate Earth Day and participate in the Change 4 Change round-up program. Throughout the week at both locations, round up at the register and donate to Friends of the Eel River.

We'll be tabling at the Eureka location during the Earth Day Celebration on April 22. Stop by and say hello! 

EcoNews ReportCongressman Jared Huffman Returns to the Show to Spill All the DC Tea

February 18, 2023

Listen here

We don’t know why he continues to join the show—doesn’t he realize he’s palling around with a bunch of tree-hugging dirt worshipers?—but Congressman Jared Huffman joins the EcoNews again for more discussion on what’s going on in Washington D.C. 
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