The Ukiah Daily Journal

Potter Valley project advances

Plan would remove Scott Dam, Lake Pillsbury

- Ukiah Daily Journal staff

A coalition of five regional entities hoping to take over operations of the Potter Valley Project announced this week it has taken the next step in securing a new license for the hydroelect­ric dam still owned by Pacific Gas and Electric.

The latest step was filing a Feasibilit­y Study Report Project Plan with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the deadline for which had been moved from April to May.

The Potter Valley Project is a hydroelect­ric facility that, in addition to generating a small amount of electricit­y, diverts water from the Eel River into the Russian River basin. The PVP’s main fa

cilities include two dams on the Eel River, a diversion tunnel and a hydroelect­ric plant.

The Partnershi­p, made up of Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, California Trout, Humboldt County, the Round Valley Indian Tribes and Sonoma Water, is described as “an outgrowth of an ad hoc committee convened by Rep. Jared Huffman ( D- San Rafael).

“I’m pleased to see this diverse coalition moving forward toward a two-basin solution. The filing of this feasibilit­y study with its well-defined project descriptio­n is a significan­t step toward a win-win outcome for the North Coast and North Bay: robust restoratio­n of Eel River fisheries, and long-term certainty and reliabilit­y for Russian River water users,” said Huffman. “We still have a long way to go including an extensive study plan, determinin­g an appropriat­e financial contributi­on from PG&E, and securing state and federal financial support to reflect the broad public benefits of this plan. But today’s filing is an important milestone and I remain committed to supporting and securing the resources necessary to move the two-basin solution forward.”

The report submitted to FERC identifies key elements that must be in place to realize the vision for a two-basin solution. These include:

• A new regional entity with authority to own and operate the Project, governed by a diverse group of regional stakeholde­rs.

• Removal of Scott Dam, which completely blocks fish passage to the headwaters of the Eel River, and modificati­ons to Cape Horn Dam and the associated water diversion to improve upstream and downstream fish passage.

• ·Modificati­on of PVP facilities to ensure continued power generation and water supply reliabilit­y in the Russian River.

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