“The tribes native to this area once thrived on the abundant salmon runs on the Eel River,” said former Round Valley Tribal Council member and current Friends of the Eel River board member Ernie Merrifield. “We must rely on all of our resources – spiritual, scientific, and legal – to restore this river and these fisheries to health. If we work together, we may have a chance to reverse the damage caused by a century of water deprivation.”
eeldamThe Eel River is California’s third largest watershed, third largest salmon producing river, and second largest steelhead producing river. The Eel’s headwaters are dammed and more than half of its natural flows are diverted to the Russian River through an inefficient tunnel and dam system in Potter Valley. Its dams are now a century old, block spawning and rearing habitat, and hold back gravels needed for a fully operative river system.

In 2004, dam owner PG&E increased flows on the Eel River from 5 cubic feet/second to 20-25 cubic feet/second under the orders of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The 2010 fall run of Chinook Salmon on the Eel River was the largest recorded in 77 years, with more than 2,300 mature fish migrating upriver to spawn. Last year’s salmon run also benefitted from an unusually heavy rain season.
 
This event marked the first time that so many different tribes came together in call for healing on the river. Salmon are a sacred fish and traditional source of food for the Round Valley Tribes and other Native American Indians who were once the only human inhabitants of this remote watershed. The prayer ceremony was attended by members of the Bear River, Cahto, Grindstone, Sherwood Rancheria, Round Valley, Pomo, Hoopa, Yurok, and Karuk Tribes, several of which performed tribal prayer dances at the mouth of the river on the Wiyot’s Table Bluff Reservation.

Environmental News

April 22, 2022

Connect the Bay: Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

At Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, garden curator Rachel Spaeth wrangles dedicated student and community volunteers to keep this historic landmark an ongoing center of learning and beauty.
April 08, 2022

Raptor Fest

Master Falconer Kenny Elvin supports a Peregrine Falcon in his gloved hand when he tells us, "Falconry is the art of hunting with raptors."
February 04, 2022

Identifying a Death Cap Mushroom Could Save Your Life

The fungal network in California has been infiltrated by an invasive and fatal species of fungi––the death cap. Learn more here about the key characteristics of the Amanita phalloides mushroom and how to avoid potential poisonings while hunting for mushrooms in Northern California.
February 04, 2022

Hunting for Wintertime Fungi in Sonoma County

When winter rains fall, life that was dormant underground begins to make its appearance. Mushrooms pop up all over our region – from the forest floor to your own backyard! Learn more here about what to look for when hunting for mushrooms.
February 01, 2022

Winter Bird Observing with Birder Alex Cho

While winter may seem hush and dormant, birds fill the season with sounds and activity as many different species visit the Bay Area during their winter migrations to warmer locations. Learn more about what makes our region special for migratory and native birds during winter from a young and avid…
Dec 14, 2021

Water Conservation - Groundwater

While not visible, underground aquifers hold vast amounts of water. However, during periods of drought groundwater storage is at risk of overuse.…
Dec 08, 2021

Tidal Marsh Soil Elevation

In the tidal marshes at San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, research ecologist Karen Thorne, PhD and biologist Chase Freeman, from the USGS…
Nov 03, 2021

Carbon Farming and Ranching

Loren Poncia discovered the powers of carbon sequestration after partnering with the Marin Carbon Project a decade ago. After learning from the…
Nov 03, 2021

The Soil Food Web

Dr. Sajeemas "Mint" Pasakdee is a University of California Cooperative Extension master gardener. Her passion is studying the amazing microscopic…
Nov 03, 2021

Compost and Carbon Sequestration

Kevin Lunny founded West Marin Compost after realizing the local need to recycle organic materials from the area into nutrient-rich and biologically…
Nov 01, 2021

Creating Vermicompost Through Earthworms

Jack Chambers co-founded the Sonoma Valley Worm Farm a quarter of a century ago after a surprising discovery in his home garden's compost bin. The…
Oct 11, 2021

San Jose Airport Pollutants Survey

Neighbors who live near San Jose's Reid-Hillview Airport have been living with noise and air pollution for many years. Now a new study commissioned…
Oct 01, 2021

Agricultural Workers and Poor Air Quality

Late summer is grape harvest season in Sonoma County, an extremely important time for Sonoma County’s billion dollar wine industry. Unfortunately,…
Sep 28, 2021

Growing Food During a Drought

Front Porch Farm in Healdsburg, CA is located right next to the Russian River, and during this drought period, their water was shut off to maintain…
Sep 27, 2021

South Bay Water Savings

Like the rest of the Bay Area, Santa Clara County is facing a serious lack of water this year. Valley Water is the agency tasked with providing this…

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