Mendocino County residents concerned about dam safety, health of Eel River – California News

Mendocino County residents concerned about dam safety, health of Eel River – California News




The road to June Ruckman and Jerry Albright’s property off Hearst Willits Road is a twisting and sometimes rocky road past the north end of town and past Foster Mountain Road, but the destination is well worth it for visitors and residents who want to experience the idyllic life downstream of the Eel River. That quality of life may be threatened however, in the event of a catastrophic emergency or dam failure similar to the Oroville Dam crisis in February.

Albright and Ruckman have been at their current property for the past eight years and the couple said they share the same dam safety concerns along with their neighbors. An informational meeting hosted by “The Friends of the Eel River” environmental non-profit last month, spotlighted some of the concerns and issues regarding the system of Eel River dams and reservoirs known as the Potter Valley Project. They include Scott Dam (Lake Pillsbury), Cape Horn Dam (Van Arsdale) and the diversion tunnel into the PG&E power generation facilities in Potter Valley.

Ruckman and Albright are both members of the organization and said they are in favor of a more equitable release of retained water as part of a relicensing approval of the two dams along the primary downstream segments of the Eel River.

“We’ve seen the damage done due to low water releases,” Albright said.

Approximately 25 people attended the presentation held at the Willits Center for the Arts including Board of Supervisors Carre Brown, John McCowen and newly appointed 3rd District Supervisor Georgeanne Croskey. Also in attendance in addition to members of the Arcata-based environmental…

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