Vermont has issued draft conditions for the relicensing of the hydropower project on the Green River that would drastically limit naturally occurring boatable flows and eliminates all opportunities for scheduled whitewater boating releases for the next 40-50 years. There is a public hearing at 7 pm on February 16th in Morrisville. This will be an opportunity for you to be heard, for the boaters to be heard. We (the North East boating community) need you to take action via written comments. AW and the Vermont Paddlers Club have filed comments in support of whitewater boating on the Green River. Boaters are encouraged to submit comments to Vermont before the February 19th deadline.
We are pleased to recognize Edgar Peck as the Volunteer of the Month for February. Edgar facilitated a successful effort to buy a new put-in on the classic Watauga River near Boone, North Carolina. Together with the take-out AW owns, the public is now guaranteed permanent access to the outstanding Watauga River.
We are sad to report the passing of Wolf Bauer one of American Whitewater’s original founders. Born in 1912 in the Bavarian Alps, Wolf came to Seattle at the age of 13. In 1948 Wolf established the Washington Foldboat Club (today Washington Kayak Club) and in 1954 he was among the founders of American Whitewater. Wolf had a huge impact on whitewater instruction and river conservation, a legacy that extends over a century.
As part of our work to protect and promote access to public waterways, American Whitewater is pursuing a bill (Senate Bill 6363 and House Bill 2660) in the Washington State legislature to require an evaluation of providing public access for state highway projects that include construction of a bridge across a navigable waterway. In last year’s legislative session our bill passed 49-0 in the State Senate but did not make it to the floor of the House. We are actively pursuing the legislation again this year.
Paddlers made a strong showing at the January 28th Deep Creek Watershed Planning Meeting in McHenry, MD. Releases from Deep Creek Lake that support paddling on the Upper Youghioghenny River have been under attack by homeowners on backwater lots who are left high and dry during droughts. Friendsville town councilman Jess Whittemore and Upper Yough outfitter Roger Zbell have been ably representing whitewater paddlers for years. Jess told me that the presence of so many boaters, especially those who own property in Garrett County, made a strong impression on the County Commissioners. They were also impressed by the many thoughtful emails recieved from paddlers throughout the East. This will put us in a good position for the 2019 relicensing. Thanks to Friendsviller paddler and attorney Bob Allen for representing American Whitewater. Jeff Macklin photo.
In June 2016, American Whitewater members will have an opportunity to join American Whitewater staff and board members for an exclusive trip on Oregon’s Rogue River. We invite you to come learn more about what we're up to while having a great time enjoying one of our nation’s first Wild and Scenic Rivers.
American Whitewater initiated legal action this past week on a hydropower project that is not in compliance with environmental laws protecting river values. While hydropower provides an important source of energy for the Pacific Northwest region, owners of these facilities have a responsibility to operate them in compliance with the laws and regulations that all hydropower operators must adhere to.
Come see American Whitewater and the year's best photos and videos at the National Paddling Film Festival (NPFF)! This year's NPFF will be held on February 19-20 in Frankfort, KY at the Buffalo Trace Distillery.
The Washington Department of Natural Resources is embarking on a new planning project that will guide recreation on DNR-managed lands in the Nooksack River and Whatcom Lake watersheds for the next 10-15 years. The effort will kick off with two public open houses that will be scheduled for January.
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.
On December 1st Black Canyon Hydro LLC filed its License Application for the Black Canyon Hydropower Project. If constructed, this project would involve dewatering Ernie’s Gorge and putting it in a pipe to generate hydropower. We expect that a public comment period will soon open providing an opportunity for feedback on their application.
After 3 years of discussion and negotiation with Southern California Edison and the US Forest Service the Kern River has several new online flow gauges on the Upper Kern River. These gauges will replace the cumbersome and antiquated flow phone that was part of the Kern River #3 license.
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!
The House is expected to vote the week of November 30th on energy legislation (H.R. 8) that is really, really bad news for rivers. The bill comes as a response to the hydropower industry's efforts to weaken the authority of tribes and state and federal agencies to protect water quality, fish and wildlife, public lands and recreation. If passed, hydropower provisions of H.R. 8 would tip the balance in strong favor of the hydropower industry, and do so at the expense of the local communities that rely on rivers for their livelihoods. Paddler’s voices are important in the process and we encourage you to reach out to your member of Congress today!
American Whitewater has worked with local paddlers and agency planners over the past year to create a river access plan for the Harpers Ferry, WV area. Two popular and scenic class III whitewater runs on the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers converge in Harper's Ferry, yet there are only 3 public parking spaces at the take-out and the public put-ins are far upstream on both rivers. The plan is the result of an outstanding effort by our members and partners, and we are now working together to improve river access opportunities based on the plan.
American Whitewater, along with other paddling groups and outfitters, filed comments with FERC responding to the Whitewater Boating Evaluation at Turners Falls on the Connecticut River. The study showed that there is strong demand for boating on this section of the Connecticut River if sufficient flows, scheduled releases, better access, and real-time information are provided. The groups filed the comments in order to provide additional information for the environmental review and to respond to the unsupported statements by FirstLight, the utility performing the study, claiming that there is little demand for boating at Turners Falls.
Make your online shopping mean something for the rivers you love. American Whitewater is participating in the Amazon Smile program. With each purchase through Amazon Smile a small percentage is passed through to American Whitewater supporting river stewardship.
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.