Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Eel River Recovery Project

Dozens of volunteers for the Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP) monitored water temperature,
flow and algae blooms in 2012 to provide information about the ecological conditions of the Eel
River and to answer questions posed by the community. The ERRP was organized in 2011 in
response to concern about reduced Eel River flows and emerging water quality problems that
include toxic algae. The 2012 citizen monitoring project was aimed at collecting data to test
community questions or hypotheses and was able to confirm that flows have diminished since 1996
when medical marijuana in California was legalized. Data also show major recovery in some parts of
the watershed and provided the answer to questions posed by local volunteers.

The 2012 ERRP monitoring project was able to establish that three major tributaries of the Eel
River, Outlet Creek, Tomki Creek, and Ten Mile Creek, were dry in late summer and fall 2012 when
that was not their historic condition prior to 1996. All three creeks were formerly major producers
of salmon and steelhead, including now endangered coho salmon, and also supplied large amounts
of clean water that helped the mainstem Eel River maintain its ecological balance. The 2012 ERRP
report recommends that Ten Mile Creek be targeted as a top priority for water conservation because
of its historic productivity and because it is near the upper South Fork Eel River coho population
that is one of the last functional population centers in northern California.

Click Here for the rest of the report.


  1. I think that in order to kill off salmon by diverting their water is only allowed if you raise potatoes?

  2. I went to the first public meeting at HSU for the new Marijuana College or whatever. If I remember correctly neither the guy from EPIC nor the guy from ERRP placed the blame solely on marijuana grows. Additionally, a guy in the audience who said he taught Hydrology (sic) - the study of water cycle and flow - said that the problem of reduced water flow in the Summer had more to do with historic logging which limits the ability for rain to be sequestered by the trees and their roots in the Winter and Spring thereby allowing for a sustained release and higher water flow in the Summer.

    Also at that meeting somebody from Mendocino was all excited about educating growers to do the right thing which includes saving water in the Winter and Spring so the river flow in Summer wasn't affected. Educating instead of busting.

    Yeh! What about the role historic and ongoing clear cutting! What about the contribution that dairy and beef cattle waste runoff make to the blue-green algae?

  3. The study did note an area of the river that had improved since Maxxam left with everybody's retirement funds. Since the heavy logging had ceased Bear Creek was 15 degrees cooler.
    The study did say:
    1) Toxic algae blooms are driven by reduced flow and increased nutrient pollution and
    would not flourish, if the Eel River were closer to its historic range of ecological
    2) Stream flow has diminished as a result of increased agricultural diversions and
    domestic water use since the passage of Prop 215 in 1996.


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