We have put together a schedule of whitewater festivals and events for the 2017 paddling season in Colorado. Get your calendars out, because this season is going to be one to remember! In addition to the many whitewater festivals that American Whitewater partners with in Colorado, we are excited to announce that AW is hosting Gore Fest again this year! We hope to see you at Rancho Del Rio on August 25 - 27! Stay tuned for more details on race registration, entertainment, and volunteer opportunities.
Dolores, Colorado - Last week, AW and Dolores water interests met again to update the 2017 operating plan for McPhee Dam based on updated supply forecasts. The forecast for the Dolores River has dropped since March 1, but still promises plenty of water for a recreational release from McPhee Reservoir.
March is the new June in Idaho, and early snowmelt has river flows booming. The dam that normally diverts almost all the water from the Black Canyon of the Bear River has begun to spill and boatable flows are likely for for the next couple weeks. Flows are likely to reach or exceed 1,500cfs which means a rare chance to experience the Bear at big Class V flows.
American Whitewater California staff Dave Steindorf will testify before a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives at 1:15pm on Wednesday, March 15th, on behalf of the Hydropower Reform Coalition. The hearing will explore the opportunities and challenges of expanding hydropower generation in the US. Dave has over 20 years of experience negotiating environmental and recreational improvements at existing hydropower dams on behalf of the paddling community. Click through to watch the hearing.
Idaho Power announced today that "flows of 10,000 cfs or greater in the Class V whitewater Milner Gorge Reach (Milner Mile) below Milner Dam on the Snake River are likely to be available during April 2017." In most years the hydropower project removes so much water from the Milner Gorge that whitewater paddling is not possible at any time. In high water years like this one though, the power company must release flows into the big, powerful Class V run known to paddlers as the Milner Mile.
Cortez, Colorado - American Whitewater and local interests in Dolores Water sat down again this month with the most current snowpack, water supply, and McPhee Reservoir storage data, to determine how releases, if possible, can be timed to provide the best boating opportunities, while doing good things for fish, and the health of the River. Releases for the lower Dolores River will happen in 2017 and the forecast for great flows is looking very good right now!
We would like to recognize Violet Jakab for being a vocal community advocate in our efforts to save Mosquito Road Bridge. No stranger to adversity, as a young woman, Violet escaped communist rule in Romania in the back of a refrigerator truck. She immigrated to the United States and worked hard for a Master of Science in Civil Engineering, Hydraulics at California State University, Long Beach. When not boating, Violet can be found with Yinky and Maggie her German Shepherds that serve as certified therapy dogs spreading joy among young and old alike.
Originally built in 1867 the “Swinging Bridge” a.k.a. Mosquito Road Bridge over the South Fork American River has long served as a crucial intersection for avid recreationalists. Yet a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) recommended removing access at the river and demolishing the bridge once a new $65 million bridge replacement project was completed. Never a debate of either a new Mosquito Road Bridge or the old Swinging Bridge a coalition of recreational stakeholders dared to ask the question why not both?
The State Highway 49 Bridge over the South Fork American River in Coloma is set to be replaced during construction of a $22 million Caltrans project in partnership with the El Dorado County Transportation Commission. Construction for this project will begin on March 8, 2017 and will continue through Spring of 2019. For paddlers, this bridge is one of the few remaining free public access sites to the river. American Whitewater worked through the stakeholder process to preserve public access once the new bridge is complete.
The Wild Olympics Coalition, a locally-based coalition that includes American Whitewater, cheered the reintroduction of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer to permanently protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 rivers and their major tributaries, a total of 464 river miles, as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
Yesterday, President Trump issued an order to the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review and replace a federal rule that protects our rivers from pollution. This action will start a multi-year public rulemaking process that will decide the safety and health of our nation’s waterways. Paddlers will have an important role to play in speaking up for the value of clean water and healthy rivers.
The Oregon State Marine Board proposal to establish a Non-Motorized Boating Program is moving through the state legislature and is set for a hearing on March 1st. We encourage our Oregon members to share their thoughts with their representatives in the state legislature.
Cortez, Colorado - Last week, American Whitewater met with local water managers, fisheries biologists, an other interests in Dolores River water, to start negotiating releases from McPhee Dam - like we do every spring. This year, things are looking very good for the Dolores...
The Bureau of Land Management is currently accepting public comment on a proposal to protect the Methow Headwaters from an industrial-scale copper mine above the town of Mazama. The proposed mine would negatively impact the incredible opportunities for outdoor recreation in the Methow Valley. A strong show of public support will be required to secure protection for this river valley.
Colorado - American Whitewater has released a new study on whitewater recreation in the San Miguel River Basin. The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) requested that Montrose County consult with American Whitewater on recreational needs and future impacts for the San Miguel River. Montrose County acquired conditional water rights to the San Miguel River in hopes of building multiple new reservoirs on BLM land. American Whitewater worked with Montrose County’s agents to assess the impact its conditional storage proposals would have on existing recreational opportunities.
This week, President Obama declared the Bears Ears region of southeast Utah a National Monument, permanently protecting this incredible region that includes the San Juan River. American Whitewater is especially proud to announce that the National Monument Proclamation specifically acknowledges whitewater paddling as an appropriate and valued recreation activity.
The Green River, from the Flaming Gorge Dam to its confluence with the Colorado River, is known for its beautiful and iconic multiday paddling trips enjoyed by boaters and anglers. For as long as any of us can remember, the only man-made obstruction to boaters and fish on this stretch has been the Green River Diversion Dam (i.e., Tusher Dam), located just over 6 miles upstream of the town of Green River, UT and more than 120 miles above its confluence with the Colorado River. Since it was first built in 1913, the Tusher Dam and the keeper hydraulic it created forced boaters to either portage around it or run the unsafe hazard, while negatively affecting fish migration patterns.
Thanks to an organization wide effort to provide transparency and operate efficiently, Charity Navigator awarded American Whitewater with its seventh consecutive 4-star rating. Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that American Whitewater adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way. Only 3% of the nonprofits Charity Navigator rates have received seven consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that American Whitewater outperforms most other charities in America. This “exceptional” designation from Charity Navigator differentiates American Whitewater from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust and support.
In an important victory for Ernie’s Gorge and rivers of the Pacific Northwest, we learned earlier today that Black Canyon Hydro LLC was withdrawing its application for the Black Canyon Hydropower Project, FERC P-14110). This project would have dewatered the North Fork Snoqualmie River severely impacting native rainbow and cutthroat trout, posed a risk to the City of Snoqualmie’s water supply, and irreversibly harmed a world-class kayak run.
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.