It seems to me that the resistance by the few fighting the continued degradation of the planet is finally shifting to the many: people in various walks of life responding with actions that show their understanding of the need to protect that which gives us life. Are we perhaps at the tipping point of turning this situation around? Certainly our struggle to decommission the Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project is coming to a head on various fronts, with all our work to date preparing us to argue successfully against relicensing this water-delivery system in the guise of a hydropower operation. And we have our new Executive Director Dave Hope at work now for Friends of the Eel River, prepared to carry this work forward in the crucial months and years ahead. He writes three articles for us in this issue of the Eel River Reporter.
A few of the articles range a bit further than usualbeyond the Eel River watershed to explore the effects on the Eels fisheries of water politics in the Central Valley as well as the wine industrys growing consumption of water supplies. We are still in the fierce fight to stop this exploitation of our natural resources by individuals simply to make money. We hear these people calling out that fish are taking precedence over people. (These very people put themselves first over the good of all.) People want to use water and leave nothing for the rivers and all their dependents (erroneously omitting themselves from this dependence). Agriculture takes up to 90% of the water in California, leaving only 10% for everything else including people.
In northern California and along the central coast, mono-cropped grapes have become a blight on the land when they utilize the newer water-intensive stock for grapes that is replacing the traditional stock, which is dry-farmed. Because of the heavy water usage that modern viticulture requires, we at FOER have been asked over the years by many members as well as people who live in other states why we have not called for a boycott of the wines made in this area. Since our intent has never been to hurt anyone we tread on this ground carefully, and now the answer seems to have been known in the wine industry all along. See the article in this issue called Turning Water into Wine by Chronicle writer Alice Feiring to learn more about this fascinating aspect of wine-making. There is a division now becoming more apparent to mainstream consumers between vineyards that grow grapes in what is known as the Monsanto-funded/U.C. Davis-taught method of viticulture, heavy in its use of water laced with nutrients, versus the vineyards that exploit traditional concepts and practices of terrior, which results in the complex flavors of dry-farmed grapes grown in a particular place in a particular year with its particular level of rainfall. So instead of boycotting wines grown in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino regions, we suggest that you seek out wines for their terroir; those wineries that Feiring mentions in her article are a good place to start. Support that which you endorse with your hard-earned dollars.
The time has finally come for me to step back from day-to-day management of this ever-growing organization now that Dave Hope has taken the reins. This is a very exciting time as new possibilities open up. Highly recognized for his restoration skills and knowledge of fisheries and watershed workings, as well as a passion to save the Eel River, Dave has been and will continue to be a major warrior in this effort to restore the Eel River. David Keller continues in the very important position as Bay Area Director with his knowledge of politics, his skill at communicating, and his passion for long-term reliability of water for the whole North Coast. Youll see news from him in this issue as well.
I plan to keep working part-time from my boat in Sausalito strengthening support and expanding our outreach efforts, as well as working on the legal and fundraising fronts and with FOER publications. We would love to have the Fish Tent at more events in the Bay Area and are looking for a team to help us transport and set up this magnificent display. You can reach me at
email@example.com or call our office (707) 923-2146 to connect.
We all look forward to your continued participation and support for our efforts to restore the Eel River to a state of health and abundance, wild and free. Additionally we are accepting applications to join our Board of Directors. Please contact Nadananda. For more details on the Eel River and our work, please visit the now almost fully restored website: www.eelriver.org.
Forever grateful for your caring and support,