AW’s strong conservation and access program was recently refocused and transformed into River Stewardship, an integrated approach to the mission work of our organization. In addition, stewardship recognizes that we have an ongoing commitment to the resources we work to protect and restore.
AW's stewardship program is managed by a National Stewardship Director who coordinates efforts between regional coordinators, volunteers, board members, and other staff members including our regional directors in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, and California. Our Stewardship Team is in place to lead, train and support community-based activism representing the interests of boaters and the rivers we care for.
Our River Stewardship Team remains focused on our mission, “To conserve and restore America’s whitewater resources
and to enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely.” Staying true to our mission, we will continue to integrate our most valuable asset, AW member volunteers, into the issues at hand.
This year's Sullivan Creek releases will begin September 3, and will continue each day for at least a couple months. These releases, the gage, and a related dam removal were the outcome of a collaborative negotiation between the regional Public Utility District that owns the dams, American Whitewater, and a suite of local, state, and national groups.
Gauley season is just around the corner and in preparation for fall releases American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area informing boaters of planning efforts for this season.
On Monday, August 4th American Whitewater submitted testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks in support of three bills that, if passed, will protect important whitewater rivers in Colorado, Montana and Washington. These include the Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act (S. 1794), East Rosebud Creek Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (S. 2392), and the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act (S. 2602). Our testimony follows the sub-committee hearing held on July 23, 2014.
The Mid Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group has begun work on a Lower White Salmon River Fish Habitat Conservation Strategy and as part of this effort they are hosting an online meeting through this Sunday July 20th (you can join any time). We encourage the whitewater paddling community to contribute to the discussion.
This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the Deerfield Fest, an annual celebration of boating on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts. The festival is an opportunity to come together with your paddling friends and listen to live music, check out the festival vendors, and maybe win a boat and other gear at the silent auction.
Help protect rivers in Western North Carolina! On Thursday, July 10, 2014, the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests will be hosting a meeting in Asheville to solicit public input on their current Forest Planning effort. A lunch-time Wild and Scenic River session will be offered for people to recommend new protections and improved management. You can expect a poster or two to check out, a friendly Forest Service staffer to chat with, and some comment cards to fill out. There may be no easier way to save rivers on your lunch break!
Twice each year, American Whitewater reaches out to ask that you help support our work to protect and restore rivers across the country, and ensure that the public can enjoy them safely. Our 2014 Summer Appeal highlights our key projects for the rest of the year, and as you'll see, we've got our work cut out for us–from the Department of Energy's call to dam every river, to projects to protect and restore cherished rivers throughout the country. As a whitewater lover and fierce defender of rivers, your support is more important than ever to help us see these projects through. You can help by becoming a member or making a tax-deductible donation today!
Last week the U.S. Department of Energy released a report on the potential for new hydropower projects across the country. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced that the U.S. has the potential to add more than 65.5 GW of new hydropower to the nation's energy portfolio by damming over 3 million river and stream reaches by 2030, including iconic rivers like the Penobscot River in Maine, the Tuckaseegee River in North Carolina, and the Smith River in California. If fully developed, these hydropower projects would destroy over 1,700 whitewater runs across the country.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce our April Volunteer of the Month, Jess Whittemore. For his leadership in securing additional boater access at the Upper Yough (MD) takeout Jess will be receiving a custom Kokatat Woolcore Shirt!
On Friday, March 14th, Yosemite National Park released their Final Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, announcing that boaters will have the opportunity to enjoy the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne by kayak on a trial basis. While we’re pleased that the Park has placed boating on equal footing for this reach, we're disappointed that the plan continues to prohibit boating on the rest of the river.
American Whitewater and Vermont Paddling Club have filed a Motion to Intervene in hydropower relicensing application filed by Morrisville Water & Light for the Green River dam. We are asking FERC to require the utility to provide 8-10 annual releases on this scenic and challenging run in northern Vermont. While MWL has agreed to provide two scheduled annual releases, we are seeking additional boating opportunities through the relicensing process.
After more than three years of waiting the access to the Powerhouse run on the Snoqualmie River is now open for public use. While this is a short run of less than a mile, it is a popular and important section of river less than 30 miles from Seattle.
The first three weekends of November in the southeast are scheduled Tallulah releases, a stapel of dixi boating. Here are a couple quick reminders for Tallulah releases.
Earlier this week the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Forterra announced the purchase of 50,272 acres along the Teanaway River and its three forks to be designated as the Teanaway Community Forest. Of importance to the whitewater paddling community, this acquisition will protect riverside lands, maintain water in the river, and keep the river open and accessible to the public.
Eighteen months ago whitewater paddlers raised over $20,000 for off-road parking in Friendsville, Maryland. This small riverside town sees a large influx of paddlers running the Upper Youghiogheny on summer weekends. Work continues despite unexpected challenges that have greatly increased costs, but the town remains committed to the project. Click through to get the latest details:
River outfitters and American Whitewater joined together decades ago to protect the Gauley River from hydro development. The success of these business enterprises were one of the key reasons that the river was protected as a National Recreation Area. But with success has come new challenges. Professional guides find the number of kayakers on the Upper Gauley overwhelming at times and kayakers also find the number of rafts intimidating. Regardless of any “right of way”, it’s everyone’s job to avoid crashes! Here’s what you can do to avoid collisions with commercial rafts.
The report on paddling access to the Ausable River has finally been issued: late, incomplete, biased, and erroneous. All of the data in the study support year round paddling access, and the data is generally accurate and defensible. The dam owner, New York State Electric and Gas, has maintained its position however that no access should be allowed to the beautiful Class IV river. It is now up to FERC, and AW and KCCNY will be filing comments this week requesting year round access.
A cornerstone of our outreach and education program designed to empower our volunteers is our Stewardship Toolkit, an on-line resource built on a decade of AW institutional knowledge in conservation, access, and safety issues. Each link below is a chapter containing a wealth of information. These topics are constantly being updated and we invite additional contributions.
6) River Access
Navigability Law Primer
State Navigability Law
State Liability Law
Paddling in National Parks
Private Land Closures
Barbed Wire / Obstructions
Protecting a Streamgage
8) River Safety