The Eel River is the third-largest watershed in California—and it once hosted one of the state’s great salmon runs, with as many as a million salmon returning annually. For a century, however, dams have blocked fish from reaching historical high-quality spawning grounds, and today it is estimated that less than 5% of the historical fish population remains in the Eel. In 2023, American Rivers named the Eel River one of the most endangered rivers in America.
Removing the Eel River dams could restore access to more than 200 miles of habitat, but how will these changes affect the many communities connected to the river? Filmmaker Cameron Nielsen spoke to people on all sides of the issue in this visually arresting short documentary.