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Pileated woodpecker snacking after grape harvest in vineyard
Pileated woodpecker snacking after the grape harvest in a Potter Valley vineyard, 2010.

Documents & Data

Below, we have listed (and where possible, linked to) documents relating to the Potter Valley Project and the Eel River, including scientific references for water flow data and salmon impacts. There is no substitute for reading the science or viewing the data for yourself.

Letter from Department of Fish and Game (DFG), 12/19/2002
This letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) disputes conclusions by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) about appropriate flows to sustain Coho salmon, Chinook salmon, and steelhead in the Eel River. DFG argues that a NMFS proposal, which involves higher summer flows, puts salmon at risk due to confusing spawning signals and increased pikeminnow predation. (416K PDF)

Kubicek, P.F. 1977. Summer water temperature conditions in the Eel River System, with reference to trout and salmon. M.S. Thesis, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California. August 1977. 200 p. (6 MB PDF)

Shapovalov, L. 1945. Observations on controlled flows in the Eel River, Lake and Mendocino Counties, California, September 25-26, 1945. California Department of Fish and Game, Inland Fisheries Administrative Report No. 45-46. 17 p. Sacramento.

National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Fish and Game, US Fish and Wildlife Service, VTN Oregon, Inc, Steiner Environmental Consulting, US Department of the Interior, Oakridge Laboratories and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. December 1982. Part 1: (12 MB PDF) Part 2: (11 MB PDF)

Pileated woodpecker snacking after grape harvest in vineyard

RPA Appendix A - NOAA fisheries' Reasonable and Prudent Alternative minimum flows of the Eel River below Cape Horn Dam. (3 MB PDF)

Ptychocheilus grandus and Eel River Salmonids - Potter Valley Project Monitoring Program (FERC No. 77, Article 39) Effects of Operation on Upper Eel River Anadromous Salmonids. Final Report, March 1998. Produced for PG&E by Steiner Environmental Consulting (2.1 MB PDF)

SWRCB Dismissal Letter - State Water Resources Control Board response to a FOER petition challenging PG&E's water rights. April 2010. (74K PDF)

Re: Potter Valley Project Block Water Release Request - 2010 CDFG response denying a FOER request to release block water for salmon in the fall, citing possible deletarious effects including interference with the fish returning to their native spawning tributaries. (1 MB PDF)

Eel River Block Water Release Request - 2011 FOER request for release of CDFG block water for fish. (246K PDF)

Potter Valley Project Block Water Request 2014 - NMFS/CDFW press release discussing their 2014 block water request for the purpose of lowering and monitoring the water temperature from Lake Pillsbury to Outlet Creek to protect juvenile steelhead.

Russian River Information

Potter Valley Irrigation District Bylaws (164K PDF) - District rules & regulations

Russian River frost water regulation decision 9/26/12 - State Water Resources Control Board's Section 862 frost water regulation on the Russian River was judged an improper exercise of the Board's authority. The Findings of Fact contains a substantial narrative discussing frost protection in the Russian River watershed and the use of water for this purpose. (2.7 MB PDF)

Memorandum: Dependable Yield for Coyote Valley Dam (Lake Mendocino) - March 4, 2016 UC Davis memo discussing water management for Lake Mendocino under drought conditions.

- The Economic Impacts of Water and Agricultural Industries: Inland Mendocino County 2015 study documenting the economic value of water and water storage in the Upper Russian River watershed.

Flow & Fish Data

Lake Pillsbury Releases and Eel River Flows - charts and discussion of wet and dry seasons

Van Arsdale Fish Count Data - Charts and a CSV data file of all official counts

Fish Counts at Van Arsdale (318K PDF) - Official fish counts from 1933 through 2010

Sample Nightly Report (79K PDF) - Nightly status report for 1/20/2011, showing flows through all aspects of the Potter Valley project. These reports are generated by PG&E every day.

Potter Valley Project 2012 Block Water Releases & Guidelines (12 MB PDF) - July 30, 2012 presentation to the Eel-Russian River Commission Meeting by Dick Butler and Jeffery Jahn of NMFS. This is an excellent discussion of the use of block water and considerations of whether releases are appropriate and beneficial to fish.

Califorina Coastal Salmonid Population Monitoring: Strategy, Design, and Methods (1.2 MB PDF) - California Department of Fish and Game Fish Bulletin 180, 2011.

Pikeminnow Suppression presentation for ERRC Meeting, 2/15/13 (7 MB PDF) - presentation by Kubicek and Steiner updating the status on the Sacramento Pikeminnow suppression project as of winter 2013.

USGS Real Time Stream Data

Pileated woodpecker snacking after grape harvest in vineyard USGS monitors rivers and streams across the nation, and puts their raw data online in real time.

Other Web Links

Humboldt County General Plan: Detailed Watershed Characteristics (PDF)

North Fork Eel River, total sediment and temperature loads (EPA, 2002; PDF)

South Fork Eel River, total sediment and temperature loads (EPA, 1999; PDF)

Middle Fork Eel River, total sediment and temperature loads (EPA, 2003; PDF)

Detailed map of the Eel River Watershed from the North Coast Integrated Regional Water Management Plan

Geology and sediment loads in the Eel River Basin

Sediment transport and Turbidity in the Eel River Basin, Brown and Ritter, 1971, prepared in cooperation with the California Department of Water Resources

Response and recovery of the Eel River, California, and its tributaries to floods in 1955, 1964, and 1997, Jan Sloan, Jerry R. Miller, Nicholas Lancaster, 2001

Eel River Water Quality Monitoring Project Final Report, Friedrichsen, G. 1998. Submitted to State Water Quality Control Board, for 205(J) Contract #5-029-250-2. Humboldt County Resources Conservation District. Eureka, CA. 76 pp. [924kb]

Pileated woodpecker snacking after grape harvest in vineyard

California Coastal Watersheds: Eel River estuary

Eel River tour highlights support for Potter Valley diversion (Redwood Times)

Historical Review of Eel River Anadromous Salmonids, with emphasis on Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, and steelhead UC Davis, Center for Watershed Studies Working Paper. A Report Commissioned by California Trout, 2010, Ronald M. Yoshiyama and Peter B. Moyle

Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration Eel River home page (includes detailed maps of the streams in the different watersheds)

Steelhead/Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) resources of the Eel River Watershed, California Becker, G.S. and I.J. Reining. 2009. 2008. Cartography by D.A. Asbury. Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration (CEMAR), Oakland, California. 349 p.

Steelhead/rainbow trout resources of the upper Eel River (excerpt from Becker & Reining 2009, above)

The Behavior and Reproduction of Salmonid Fishes in a Small Coastal Stream, State of California Fish and Game, Marine Fisheries Branch, Fish Bulletin No. 94, John C. Briggs, Natural History Museum, Stanford University, 1953

Index to the West Coast Steelhead Administrative Archive - Lists scientific papers collected by EPA regarding steelhead, and the repositories where the documents may be found (UCSB, University of Washington, or NMFS).

Status of Coho Salmon in California Report to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Larry R. Brown and Peter B. Moyle, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, University of California, Davis, July 1991

Landslide-dammed paleolake perturbs marine sedimentation and drives genetic change in anadromous fish Benjamin H. Mackeya, Joshua J. Roering, and Michael P. Lamb. Procedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 14, 2011. (See also Evidence of Ancient Lake in California's Eel River Emerges.) Geologic and genetic evidence of a landslide 25,000 years ago on the Eel River.

NASA/MODIS image of Eel River sediments December 9, 2012 NASA/MODIS image of Eel River sediments after major storms from December 9, 2012

After a series of rainstorms drenched northern California in late November and early December 2012, sediment-laden water was coursing down the Eel River toward the Pacific Ocean. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image on December 9, 2012.

PG&E Promotional Video of the Van Arsdale Fish Counting Station - Interesting short video showing chinook salmon coming through the counting station in the (record) 2011-2012 year.

potter valley panorama