Comment Period Open Until Dec. 22 Over Possible Eel River Dam Removals

The following is courtesy of California Trout:

Scott Dam photo by Kyle Scwartz

On November 17, 2023, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) released the initial draft of its plan to remove two dams on the Eel River. The plan calls for the complete and expeditious removal of most of the Potter Valley Project facilities, and it provides a number of options for consideration by stakeholders for how the Project is decommissioned. We need your help to ask PG&E to urgently remove the Eel River dams by submitting a unique comment by December 22, 2023. Comments will help determine the outcome of a final draft of the plan which is expected in May 2024 and a subsequent final license surrender and decommissioning plan which is due to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in January 2025.


How to comment effectively:

It is important that PG&E and FERC hear unique comments in your own words. We hope you will take just a few minutes out of your day to:

  1. Explain your interest in the Eel River, why is it important to you?
  2. Use the suggested talking points below to request the urgent removal of both dams
  3. Thank PG&E for the opportunity to comment

At this phase, PG&E is asking the public to comment on the components of the draft and provide feedback on which options are preferred. There will be a subsequent comment period after more detailed plans are released in 2024.

Talking points

  • I strongly support PG&E’s plan to remove both dams. Eel River fish don’t have time to waste. The benefits of dam removal are reduced if dam removal is delayed.
  • PG&E’s priority should be removing both Scott and Cape Horn dams as soon as possible and restoring the Project footprint.
  • Any proposal to maintain a diversion to the East Branch Russian River should only be included if it will not delay dam removal and if there is support for the proposal from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and representative governmental and non-governmental entities in the Russian and Eel River basins.
  • PG&E must provide for environmental restoration of the Project footprint to satisfy state, federal, and local agencies. Restoration should include non-native species management.
  • I support transferring recreation facilities such as campgrounds to interested parties rather than removing them.
  • PG&E should consult with interested Tribes early and often and protect cultural sites.

All comments must be submitted by December 22, 2023.


The Eel River once supported runs of up to a million salmon and steelhead each year, but those numbers have plummeted to a fraction of historical numbers. Scientists recognize that a healthy and free-flowing Eel River has the potential to play a key role in the rebound of these fisheries throughout the North Coast region, and conservation and commercial fishing groups have long advocated for a free-flowing Eel River. In 2023, American Rivers named the Eel one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers, citing the Potter Valley Project dams as major factors driving Chinook salmon, steelhead, and Pacific lamprey toward extinction. Learn more about Eel River dam removal here.

Removing the Eel River dams would make the Eel California’s longest free-flowing river and would reconnect salmon and steelhead with almost 300 miles of cold-water habitat. Thank you for your support as we work together towards a free-flowing Eel River.