As you might know, the agreements that provide recreational releases on the wildly popular Ocoee River expire at the end of 2018. We expect the Tennessee Valley Authority, who operate the dams, to kick off a study sometime early next year that considers several different options for future management of the Ocoee. Changes could be negative, positive, or neutral to the paddling community. American Whitewater has created a survey to help us better understand the interests of the paddling community so we can be effective advocates for those interests. If you paddle the Ocoee, please take 5 minutes to share your thoughts with us.
Of course there is no substitute for directly sharing your own personal views with the TVA regarding how the Ocoee River should be managed. We'll keep you posted on future public comment opportunities and meetings through our website, and via email if you take the survey.
It is worth noting that the releases on the Ocoee are provided through unusual agreements between rafting outfitters and the TVA, under which the outfitters pay TVA to release the water. Negotiations are ongoing between TVA and the outfitters, and the forthcoming study (an environmental assessment or impact statement) will explain and compare any agreement that is reached with a range of alternatives. The study will be the public's chance to weigh in on the Ocoee's future.
Thanks in advance for taking our quick survey!