The removal of two dams blocking Northern California’s Eel River is one step closer to happening. On November 17, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), the owner of the dams, released its initial draft plan for dismantling the Scott and Cape Horn dams and relinquishing its license for the 113-year-old Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project.
Crews spent October putting the final touches on the removal of the Copco No. 2 Dam on California’s Klamath River, removing the remaining diversion infrastructure, grading the river channel, and performing erosion control. Deconstruction of the dam structure was completed in September. This work prepares the river canyon for consistent river flows, something which the river canyon below the dam hasn’t seen in 98 years. Restored flows in this reach will provide new whitewater boating opportunities on a section of river that has been dewatered and inaccessible to the public. Only a handful of boaters have ever been able to experience this run.
The Lower White Salmon Coalition, formed in 2016, is releasing its Vision Plan for the approximately five hundred acres of land owned by PacifiCorp along the lower White Salmon River representing the former project lands for the Condit Hydroelectric Project. For whitewater boaters this includes the Lower Gorge from Buck Creek to the Columbia River.
You might want to tighten those nose clips and buy some earplugs: earlier this year the Supreme Court ruled on a long running legal dispute about which streams and wetlands the Clean Water Act actually protects from pollution – and it’s not good. Their decision, which ignored even the most basic science, stripped protections for an estimated 50% of streams and 70% of wetlands that had been protected since the 1970s.