The Ukiah Daily Journal
Potter Valley project advances
Plan would remove Scott Dam, Lake Pillsbury
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.