Placeholder Image photo credit: Mendocino Inland Water & Power
Map showing the different dams and infrastructure
which make up the Potter Valley Project.

Sonoma Water, the Round Valley Indian Tribes, and the Mendocino County Inland Power and Water Commission recently submitted a joint proposal to Pacific Gas & Electric.

It outlines a plan to take over control of PG&E-owned Cape Horn Dam and Van Arsdale Diversion on the Eel River.

Called the New Eel-Russian Facility, the plan would keep Cape Horn Dam, and the crucial Potter Valley Diversion Tunnel, in operation.

PG&E had planned to decommission both. That's if no alternative proposals were submitted to the utility by a July 31st deadline. The partnership got their plan in that day.

The envisioned facility would ensure safe passage upstream for federally protected fish species, and allow for continued water diversion from the Eel River, south into the East Fork of the Russian River.

Eel River water diversions have become an indispensable part of Russian River water supply. Especially for Lake Mendocino, which could intermittently go dry without continued diversions.

While nothing has been finalized, two plans detailed in the July 31st proposal include significant changes to the current century-old set up on the Eel River.

However, the proposal has been met with skepticism by some Eel River and Humboldt County fisheries advocates. They say they have concerns over any plans that keep dams on the Eel River.

Dams which they say threaten Eel River salmon, and in particular, steelhead trout with extinction; and fuel an ever-expanding wine industry through water diversions.

We'll continue to report on this story as it develops.

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