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. 

Eel River Aquatic Life is Surviving the Drought


See hundreds of fish and an audacious turtle in this video, taken in an amazing cave- like pool in the the Black Butte River.

Read an article on the aquatic ecosystem response to drought.

ERRP is taking a new interest in the non-native Sacramento pikeminnow, formerly known as the squawfish (see Plan).

See Fish Monitoring Page for Reports & ERRP You Tube Videos.


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.  Citizen volunteers throughout the watershed are placing temperature sensors and taking pictures at photo points to monitor conditions.  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.


ERRP Summer 2014 Algae Watch

UC Berkeley doctoral candidate Keith Bouma-Gregson leads ERRP toxic blue-green algae studies and is assisting citizens throughout the Eel River basin. Call us with observations or if you have questions (707 223-7200).

Dry Watch - Lower Eel River Disconnected!


Aerial Reconnaissance: ERRP Volunteers took to the air 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. The lower Eel in Fortuna lacked surface flow between the 12th Street and Box Car pools. Although the Potter Valley Project released more water to the river on August 16, that water had not yet reached Fortuna. The lower South Fork is turning an unusual brown, so swimming is not recommended. See pictures from an August 26 lower Eel ground and underwater survey and read the ERRP press release. Thanks to pilots Rich DeHaven and Jim Stewart. See Rich's very cool YouTube channel and slide show of aerial photos from August 29 flight.

Photo by David Sopjes. Click to enlarge.


Blue-green Algae Warning


September 2014 : On July 18 officials with the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) published a warning to recreational users of all fresh water bodies to avoid contact with algae. Flows have dropped further since that time and the lower South Fork Eel, lower main Eel, and portions of the Van Dzuen River and toxic blue-green algae blooms are possible. ERRP does not recommend swimming or bathing and algae blooms and scums should be avoided, if you make a trip to the river. Read the Warning

Is It Swimmable?


People had a lot of fun playing in the Eel River earlier in the summer and ERRP captured a lot of it in photos and videos. As of early August, however, ERRP cannot recommend swimming or bathing except for upper watershed areas like the South Fork Eel above Leggett. The Van Duzen at Swimmers Delight also remains swimmable, but lower river areas are quickly warming and algae blooms are well under way. Potentially toxic blue-green algae can form in edges of the Eel River, so keep children and pets away from stagnant areas with algal scums or mats (Learn More).

ERRP wants to post your photos of swimming spots. Call 223-7200
to link up with us.

See photos of current conditions at popular swimming spots.
Is It Swimmable?

Our You Tube Videos also show river conditions.


ERRP Summer Outreach - Big Success!


Click here or on collage to enlarge

The Recovery Project is expanding outreach in a new direction in 2014 by patricpating in festivals. Our team experienced Jah Love at Reggae on the River, mixing with the enlightend crowd and building connections at the grassroots. Thanks to the Mateel Community Center for this great opportunity! Our Northern Nights food concession helped us raise funds and consciousness at the same time and we thank the sponsors of that great event for letting us participate. Our first event of the season was joining the Salmon Restoration Association at their fantastic 4th of July Salmon BBQ. Thanks SRA!



Green sturgeon in Lower Eel River, October 26, 2013.

Watch a video of this sturgeon on YouTube


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