The Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP) is a broad-based community initiative to address water conservation, nutrient pollution and ecosystem recovery. This project is operating under the umbrella of the Trees Foundation and has an Advisory Group comprised of people from throughout the Eel River Basin. The collaborative effort to restore the Eel River is coordinated with communities, Tribes, other non-profit groups, and government agencies.

First Wave of Chinook Disbursing - Salmon Viewing Near You?

On Monday, October 20 at 4 PM,the Van Duzen River culverts were pulled and fish began migrating upstream immediately. Three dozen were seen crossing a riffle above Carlotta the next morning, after thousands of Chinook left the 12th Street Pool in Fortuna. At Shively. 50 salmon per hour passed as the 2014-2015 wild Chinook salmon migration began. The main Eel and all its tributaries have now swelled so that salmon travel is unimpeded into all main branches. Chinook were seen on the South Fork near Piercy on Friday and on Sunday, October 26 they were passing Alderpoint at about 40-50 an hour.

Viewing opportunities should open up on the upper Eel at HEarst and along Highway 162 between Outlet Creek and Dos Rios. Lower Eel River dives could still happen on November 7, 8 and 10, but not unless things settle down on flows. If flows drop, we want to get video and photos of salmon action throughout the watershed. ERRP Outdoor Coordinator Eric Stockwell will lead us in floating spawning surveys in kayaks, if opportunities open up.

Report fish to ERRP Volunteer Coordinator Pat Higgins at 223-7200 and maybe he'll join you in the field.


Cleaning Up and Expanding Wilderness


ERRP is working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Arcata Office and the U.S. Forest Service with a goal of cleaning up all industrial marijuana grows in Eel River Wilderness Areas over the next five years. ERRP also wants to prudently expand Wilderness where possible to protect sources of clean water and biodiversity. Call 223-7200 if you want to volunteer or support this effort in other ways. Read about our progress and plans in 2013 Rose Foundation Wildlands Grant Report.

Water Temperature / Flow Studies Continue

The Recovery Project is in its third year of water temperature and flow monitoring to help the community assess the health of the Eel River and its tributaries in this very dry year.  We are currently picking up the automated probes, so expect a call if you are an ERRP volunteer. On Monday, October 7, found older age juvenile steelhead in Chemise, Dobbyn and Larabee creeks showing they sustained these fish despite the drought. More soon. This year we have expanded coverage to include the North Fork Eel River and increased the number of watershed residents we are assisting. 

See 2013 Report or visit the Water Temperature and Flow page.



The Recovery Project has sponsored numerous meetings throughout the Eel River Basin and sponsors Water Day annually to bring the community together, compare what we have learned and form partnerships to carry out the needed work. Learn more...

A group of students from the Van Duzen River, at Grizzly Creek State Park. A More Kids in the Woods experience.

In 2013, we began a school education project in the Van Duzen River, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the Friends of Van Duzen. More than 500 students in the river basin went into the field in the Van Duzen River and learned about ecology, fish and watershed processes.

Help us expand school programs focused on the Eel River that get students out of the class room and down to the river!
Call ERRP Education Chair Sal Steinberg at (707) 768-3189.


First Annual Round Valley Salmon Awareness Festival Is A Big Success

Thanks to:

Round Valley Indian Tribes
"Mudcat" Hoaglen & Round Valley Feather Dancers
Kenny Chadbourne, Ernie Merrifield, Dewey Lucas, & Peter Lara
(The Fish Crew)
Mary Francis Merrifield and Lola Thompson
(Hostesses of Salmon Feed)
KYBU Radio Covelo

Also, thanks to these people, who spent their day in classrooms:
Moose McFadden, Walter Feather, Eloisa Britton, David Weitzman, Ron Lincoln, Sr., Tom Grover, and Pat Higgins. And all the super local teachers who opened up their classrooms for their workshops . . . and the kids for responding with such enthusiasm and respect.

Thanks to Warren Lincoln for his significant video contribution and lightening quick video skills!


October 11 Dive Estimate = 2467 Chinook !

The rains of late September pushed the lower Eel at Scotia over 220 cfs briefly and some fish have moved up into Fortuna pools! At our first dive on October 11 we saw 2467 Chinook and we saw two adult green sturgeon! (see New Report ). (SEE VIDEO). We will dive again every two weeks and also will hold Friday dives in the Weymouth and Van duzen Pools and join Humboldt Redwood Company on the following Mondays for dives from Scotia to Dyerville after flows have allow salmon to move up (dive schedule). ERRP met with the Wiyot Tribe and HRC and devised a 2014-2015 Eel River Fall Chinook salmon monitoring game plan. If low flows happen during the spawning season, ERRP Outdoor Coordinator Eric Stockwell will lead us in floating spawning surveys.

To get into the swim of things on dives, check in with ERRP Volunteer Coordinator Pat Higgins at 223-7200.


ERRP Eel River Aerial Surveys Continue!

NEW VIDEO of Middle Fork & Upper Eel

Aerial Reconnaissance: ERRP Volunteers took to the air with pilots Rich DeHaven and Jim Stewart to photograph and video-record hundreds of miles of the main Eel River, South Fork and lower Van Duzen on the morning of Friday, August 29 (see 8/29 AERIAL VIDEO). We documented that the lower Eel in Fortuna lacked surface flow between the 12th Street and Box Car pools. Rich DeHaven and Pat Higgins then flew out of Willits on September 14 over the upper Eel River from Lake Pillsbury to Dos Rios and the Middle Fork Eel from the Black Butte River to the mouth. See the New Video! See also Rich's very cool YouTube channel.

Algae Watch - 2014 Sampling Completed


UC Berkeley doctoral candidate Keith Bouma-Gregson was able to expand his toxic cyanobacteria monitoring stations in the Eel River basin to 15 locations with the help of ERRP volunteers. The susceptibility of the the different river reaches to toxic algae appeared highly variable. Sample analysis should be completed by late October and Keith will be able to share results shortly thereafter.




Lower Eel River
Lower Eel River at Fortuna, November, 2011