Earlier this summer West Virginia was hit hard with massive flooding. Both the Gauley River and Meadow River watersheds were flooded by heavy rains. The Gauley River set a flow record and Summersville Lake recorded the second highest lake level in its history. Downstream, nearly every boat launch and take-out was damaged to some degree. Despite the flooding, the put-ins and take-outs at the Tailwaters, Mason’s Branch, Wood’s Ferry, and upper Swiss will all be open for Gauley season. Read an open letter to Gauley boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area.
The California State Water Resources Control Board has ordered the decommissioning of the Centerville Powerhouse on Butte Creek to protect spring run salmon. This is part of a relicensing agreement that American Whitewater has been working on since 2003. As a result, Butte Creek, located in Northern California will be receiving more water.
The decades-old agreements between rafting outfitters and the Tennessee Valley Authority that provide for recreational water releases in the Upper and Middle Ocoee River will expire in 2018. TVA and the outfitters have been attempting to negotiate a new agreement for many months, and thus far no agreement has been reached. This week, American Whitewater and several regional affiliate clubs requested inclusion in those talks to represent our interests in the Ocoee River continuing to be a recreational treasure and economic boon to the region.
Colorado - Montrose County has acquired conditional water rights to the San Miguel River in southwest Colorado and is currently engaged in a water storage feasibility study aimed at building multiple new reservoirs on BLM land. The Colorado Water Conservation Board requested Montrose County consult with American Whitewater on recreational needs and future impacts. American Whitewater is currently working with Montrose County’s agents to assess the impact its conditional storage proposals will have on existing recreational opportunities.
Gauley Fest is just around the corner. . .have you reserved your Vendor space? Gauley Fest's Marketplace gets bigger and better every year. Take advantage of the 15% discount on Vendor booths through August 31st. Reserve your booth today and lock in your discounted price!
As summer winds down and as botable flows fade along with it, you may find yourself looking for one last hurrah. One more chance to gather with the tribe, paddle an exciting stretch of whitewater and dance into the wee hours of the night wih the reckless abandon only a gypsy boater can. Look no further! American Whitewater provides the flows and the party, with the three best paddling festivals of the summer right around the corner – Gore Festival (CO) August 26-28, Gauley River Festival (WV) September 15-18, and Feather River Festival (CA) September 23-25
Dolores, Colorado - This is the first year since 2011 that water managers on the Dolores River released boating flows from McPhee Dam and reservoir. For some, the recreational releases were something to celebrate. For others, they were confounding and underscored the frustration all boaters have felt since the Project came online 30 years ago.
The El Dorado County Transportation Division has issued a feasibility study proposing to remove access at the river once construction for a new Mosquito Road Bridge is started on the South Fork American River. Effectively, through the use of distance and no parking signs the county will end public access to a navigable river. They justify these actions by citing that El Dorado County never authorized public river access at Mosquito Road Bridge.
This summer the Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo National Forests are seeking feedback from the public on their update and revisions to Forest Management Plans. These plans set the stage for how the forest will be managed for the next 20 years. Unfortunately, the agency's draft analysis on Wild and Scenic Rivers has largely neglected whitewater recreation values of classic whitewater rivers, including Dinkey Creek. Paddler's voices are important in this process! The deadline to comment is August 25th.
American Whitewater is the only national non-profit organization exclusively focused on conserving and restoring whitewater rivers. Each day, we work to protect free flowing rivers, restore flows to rivers impacted by hydroelectric projects, secure access, and advocate for new Wild and Scenic rivers throughout the country. Your membership is a key part of what makes our efforts possible. Our 2015 Annual Report is available on-line now.
As we head towards Upper Yough Race Day (July 23rd) in Friendsville it's time to recognizesome people who make access to the river easier. Thanks to Jess Whittemore for visualizing the Friendsville Parking Lot and to Friendsville Town Council for following through and making it happen. Thanks to hundreds of paddlers who contributed money for the parking lot, who stay clear of residential areas on Water Street, and patronize local businesses. And a special thank you to Don Millard who mows the access areas in Friendsville and Sang Run to keep our access costs low. Don't YOU forget to put a few dollars in the donation box in Sang Run to pay for the portable toilet! Jeff Macklin Photo
Paddlers have successfully helped to defend the public right to float rivers and streams in South Carolina. In a decision released late last week, a South Carolina court rejected an attempt to privatize a section of the South Fork of the Saluda River known as Blythe Shoals. The Court ruled that the entire river – rapids and all – is navigable and shall remain open to recreational paddling. This is great news for South Carolina river enthusiasts!
This week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioned (FERC) issued a final order denying a license for the Twin Lakes Canal Company’s proposal to build a 109-foot-tall hydroelectric dam on the Bear River in southeast Idaho. American Whitewater and our partners have worked diligently for over 14 years to protect the Oneida Narrows section of the Bear River, and we’re celebrating this final decision, which will keep this section of river freely flowing!
Negotiations on an Energy Bill are about to get underway and the hydropower industry wants a piece of the action. Under the guise of "modernizing" hydropower and "reducing costs," the hydropower industry is working feverishly to get a free pass on environmental regulations that help us restore flows to rivers. If they are successful, it will damage our work to restore flows and enhance whitewater recreation downstream of hydropower projects. Take action today to help us restore rivers and keep them flowing.
This morning, Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer from Oregon released the Recreation Not Red Tape (RNR) Act, which is an effort to recognize the importance of recreation on public lands and waters.
The National Park Service is celebrating its Centennial this year (2016) and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act’s 50th anniversary is coming up in 2018. We encourage the paddling community to get out there, take photos, and enjoy rivers while finding your park! You can help tell the story of these rivers which supports their conservation and stewardship by sharing your photos.
If you haven't started already it's time to start planning for that big multi-day trip you've been wanting to do. American Whitewater's permit database can help you find the information you need.
Tis the season when American Whitewater works with power companies and other groups to schedule the coming year's dam releases in the Southeast. In addition to hundreds of releases on Class I-III rivers like the Nantahala, Tuckasegee, and Catawba, we put together an outstanding integrated schedule of Class IV and V opportunities. Check it out!
Citing a host of environmental concerns raised by American Whitewater and our partners, the federal government has recommended denial of an application seeking to build a 109-foot-tall hydroelectric dam on the Bear River in southeast Idaho. Federal regulators agreed with our view that the Oneida Narrows represents a regionally unique and important river recreational resource that would be destroyed by the proposed dam, for which mitigation is not possible.
Since 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been a critical source of funding for important river access projects and other recreational pursuits across the country. This fund however is set to expire on September 30, 2015 unless Congress reauthorizes it. We’re calling on all paddlers to reach out to their Congressional representatives and ask them to reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.