The Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission (MCIWPC), Round Valley Indian Tribes (RVIT), and the Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water), collectively the proponents, have submitted a proposal Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to advance a regional solution for preserving flows in the Russian River and improving Eel River fisheries.
In 2021, due to equipment failure at the powerplant, PG&E stopped generating power at the Potter Valley Project. PG&E decided not to repair the powerplant. It is preparing a license surrender application, to be filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The deadline for application is January 2025.
PG&E has said that its application would propose to remove Scott and Cape Horn Dams and end any operations, including water diversions to the Russian River, unless it received a complete and credible proposal in July 2023.
The proponents submitted a proposal to PG&E to preserve water diversions into the Russian River watershed through the Potter Valley Project. The proposal is also important to assure that removal or modification of facilities allow for upstream and downstream fish migration at Cape Horn Dam, consistent with goals for a sustainable and harvestable Eel River fishery.
Ongoing water diversions into the Russian River through the Potter Valley Project are critical to the health of the watershed, to ongoing water supply, and to Russian River fisheries. Without the Potter Valley Diversion, Lake Mendocino would have shortages eight of every 10 years and would go dry two of every 10 years.
The proposal includes creation of a regional entity to serve as a legal organization in discussing a New Eel-Russian Facility with PG&E.
The proposal seeks PG&E to include in its final license surrender application a request that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issue a nonpower license to the regional entity, which would preserve components of the modified Potter Valley Project diversion facilities and authorize the construction of the Eel-Russian facility.
The immediate role of this regional entity and the proposal is to preserve water diversions into the Russian River through the Potter Valley Project site while providing upstream and downstream fish migration to support larger efforts aimed at achieving naturally reproducing, self-sustaining and harvestable native anadromous fish populations.
The proposal has been shaped by insights provided through the Russian River Water Forum. Through the Forum, stakeholders and the public will have an opportunity to assist in the development of the details in the proposal.
For information about the proponents and the Russian River Water Forum, go to: